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Unsymmetrical N‑Aryl-1-(pyridin-2-yl)methanimine Ligands in Organonickel(II) Complexes: More Than a Blend of 2,2′-Bipyridine and N,N‑Diaryl-α-diimines?

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journal contribution
posted on 01.12.2016, 15:48 by Christian Biewer, Claudia Hamacher, Andre Kaiser, Nicolas Vogt, Aaron Sandleben, Mason T. Chin, Siqi Yu, David A. Vicic, Axel Klein
The new organonickel complexes [(R-PyMA)­Ni­(Mes)­X] [R-PyMA = N-aryl-1-(pyridin-2-yl)­methanimine; aryl = phenyl, 2,6-Me2-, 3,5-Me2-, 2,4,6-Me3-, 2,6-iPr2-, 3,5-(OMe)2-, 2-NO2-4-Me-, 4-NO2-, 2-CF3-, and 2-CF3-6-F-phenyl; Mes = 2,4,6-trimethylphenyl; X = F, Cl, Br, or I] were obtained as approximate 1/1 cis and trans isomeric mixtures or pure cis isomers depending on the PyMA ligand and X. The [(R-PyMA)­Ni­(Mes)­X] complexes with X = Br or Cl were directly synthesized from the precursors trans-[(PPh3)2Ni­(Mes)­X], while [(PyMA)­Ni­(Mes)­X] derivatives with X = F or I were obtained from [(PyMA)­Ni­(Mes)­Br] through X exchange reactions. Although density functional theory (DFT) calculations show a preference for the sterically favored cis isomers, both isomers could be observed in many cases; in three cases, even single crystals for X-ray diffraction could be obtained for the trans isomers. Possible intermediates for the isomerization were investigated by DFT calculations. All complexes were studied by multiple spectroscopic means, electrochemistry, and spectroelectrochemistry (for the reduction processes). The long-wavelength metal-to-ligand charge-transfer (MLCT) absorptions vary markedly with the R substituent of the ligand and the cathodic electrochemical potentials to a far smaller degree. Both are almost invariable upon variation of X. All of this is in line with Ni-based and π*-based lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals (LUMOs). In line with the unsymmetric character of the NPy^Nmethanimine ligand, electrochemistry and MLCT transitions seem to not correspond to the same type of π* LUMO, making these PyMA ligands more interesting than the symmetric heteroaromatic polypyridine ligands such as 2,2′-bipyridine (bpy; NPy^NPy) and N,N-diaryl-substituted aliphatic α-diimines (Nmethanimine^Nmethanimine) such as the diaza-1,3-butadienes (DAB). First attempts to use these complexes in Negishi-type cross-coupling reactions were successful.