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Unexpected Deprotonation from a Chemically Inert OH Group Promoted by Metal Ions in Lanthanide–Erythritol Complexes

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journal contribution
posted on 12.03.2021, 21:29 by Xiaoyan Kang, Yedi Chang, Limin Yang, Yizhuang Xu, Guozhong Zhao, Shuai Li, Isao Noda, Kexin Liu, Jia’er Chen, Jinguang Wu
Single-crystal structures of five lanthanide–erythritol complexes are reported. The analysis of the chemical compositions and scrutinization of structural features in the single-crystal data of the complexes led us to find that unexpected deprotonation occurs on the OH group of erythritol of three complexes. Considering these complexes were prepared in acidic environments, where spontaneous ionization on an OH group is suppressed, we suggest metal ions play an important role in promoting the proton transfer. To find out why the chemically inert OH is activated, the single-crystal structures of 63 rare-earth complexes containing organic ligands with multiple hydroxyl groups (OLMHs) were surveyed. The formation of μ2-bridges turns out to be directly relevant to the occurrence of deprotonation. When an OH group from an OLMH molecule participates in the formation of a μ2-bridge, the polarization ability of the metal ions becomes strong enough to promote the deprotonation on the OH group. The above structural characteristics may be useful in the rational design of catalysts that can activate the chemically inert OH group and promote the relevant chemical conversions.