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Inner-sphere two-electron reduction leads to cleavage and functionalization of coordinated dinitrogen

TitleInner-sphere two-electron reduction leads to cleavage and functionalization of coordinated dinitrogen
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSpencer, LP, MacKay, BA, Patrick, BO, Fryzuk, MD
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume103
Pagination17094-17098
Date PublishedNov
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0027-8424
KeywordsBOND-CLEAVAGE, BRIDGING N-2 UNIT, CLEAVAGE, COMPLEXES, dinitrogen coordination, END-ON, METAL-COMPLEXES, MOLECULAR, MOLYBDENUM-IRON PROTEIN, NITROGEN, nitrogen fixation, nitrogen-nitrogen bond, PHOSPHINIMIDE COMPLEXES, SIDE-ON, TANTALUM COMPLEX, TUNGSTEN
Abstract

Activation of molecular nitrogen by transition metal complexes is an area of current interest as investigations using the inert N-2 molecule to produce higher-value organonitrogen compounds intensify. In an attempt to extend the addition of hydride reagents E-H (where E = BR2, AIR(2), and SiR3) to the dinitrogen complex ([NPN]Ta)(2)(mu-H)(2)(mu-eta(2):eta(2)-N-2) [1; where NPN = (PhNSiMe2CH2)(2)PPh], the reaction with zirconocene chlorohydride, [Cp2Zr(Cl)H](x), was examined. The crystalline product formed in 35% yield was determined to be ([NP(N)N]Ta)(mu-H)(2)(mu-N)(Ta[NPN])(ZrCP2) (2) in which the coordinated N-2 has been cleaved to form a phosphinimide bridging between Ta and Zr and a triply bridging nitride. The mechanism of this reaction was examined to determine the fate of the chloride and hydricle ligands attached to Zr in the starting zirconocene reagent. Using the zirconocene dihydride dimer ([Cp2ZrH2](2)), a higher yield of 2 was obtained (76%), and H-2 was also observed by H-1 NMR spectroscopy. To probe the origin of the eliminated H-2, the dideuterated dinitrogen complex ([NPN]Ta)(2)(tLID)(2)(mu-eta(1):n(2)-N-2) (d(2)-1) was allowed to react with ([CP2ZrH2](2)), which resulted in the formation of ([NP(N)N]Ta)(mu-D)(2)(mu-N)(Ta[NPN]) (ZrCP2), (d(2)-2), with no evidence of hydrogen for deuterium scrambling between the starting zirconocene dihydride and the ditantalum dinitrogen complex. Studies into the use of preformed Zr(II) and Ti(II) reagents were also performed. The proposed mechanism involves initial adduct formation that facilitates inner-sphere electron transfer to cleave the N-N bond to form a species with bridging nitrides, one of which is transformed by nucleophilic attack of a phosphine donor to generate the observed phosphinimide.

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