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Isolable dicarbon stabilized by a single phosphine ligand

Tsz-Fai Leung, Dandan Jiang, Ming-Chun Wu, Dengmengfei Xiao, Wei-Min Ching, Glenn P. A. Yap, Tao Yang, Lili Zhaomail, Tiow-Gan Ongmail & Gernot Frenkingmail

 

Nature Chemistry, 13, Article number: 89–93(2021)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41557-020-00579-w

 

Abstract

In contrast to naturally occurring F2, O2 and N2, diatomic C2 is an intriguing species that has only been observed indirectly in the gas phase, and because of its high reactivity has eluded isolation in the condensed phase. It has previously been stabilized in L→C2←L compounds but the bonding situation of the central C2 in this motif differs remarkably from that of free C2. Here we have prepared and structurally characterized diatomic C2 as a monoligated complex L→C2 using a bulky phosphine ligand bearing two imidazolidin-2-iminato groups (L is (NHCR=N)2(CH3)P, where NHCR is an N-heterocyclic carbene). The compound is stable in solution at ambient temperature and has also been isolated in the solid state. Reactivity studies, in combination with quantum chemical analysis, suggest that the two carbon atoms of the L→C2 complex both have carbene character. The complex underwent intermolecular C–H bond activation upon thermolysis and exhibited hydroalkoxylation-like reactivity with methanol.