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Unusual Structural and Spectroscopic Features of Some PNP-Pincer Complexes of Iron

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journal contribution
posted on 24.11.2008, 00:00 by Elizabeth M. Pelczar, Thomas J. Emge, Karsten Krogh-Jespersen, Alan S. Goldman
We report a structural, spectroscopic, and computational study of two tBuPNP (2,6-bis(di-tert-butyl-phosphinomethyl)pyridine) complexes of iron, (tBuPNP)FeCl2 (1) and (tBuPNP)Fe(CO)2 (3). Complex 1, (tBuPNP)FeCl2, also independently synthesized by Milstein, has unusually long iron−ligand bond distances. DFT calculations show that these are clearly attributable to its high-spin electronic structure, and in particular to occupancy of the strongly antibonding dx2y2 orbital. The crystal structure of 3 reveals two unusual aspects. (1) The geometry around the iron atom in 3 is much closer to square pyramidal (SQP; apical CO) than to trigonal bipyramidal (TBP), although five-coordinate Fe(0) complexes are generally expected to be TBP; moreover, Chirik et al. have reported that (iPrPNP)Fe(CO)2 has essentially a perfect TBP structure (iPrPNP = 2,6-bis(di-isopropyl-phosphinomethyl)pyridine). (2) The apical carbonyl ligand in 3 deviates significantly from linearity (Fe−C−O = 171.9°). Additionally, complex 3 is intensely blue in color, which is unusual for an Fe(0) complex and also significantly different from the red color of Chirik’s (iPrPNP)Fe(CO)2 species. Results from DFT calculations reproduce and explain these structural and spectroscopic aspects as well as the contrast between 3 and its iPrPNP analogue.