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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Mar 25;131(11):3878-80. doi: 10.1021/ja809834k.

Three-coordinate copper(I) amido and aminyl radical complexes.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


A three-coordinate Cu-NR(2) system (R = p-tolyl) supported by the anionic bis(phosphino)borate ligand [Ph(2)B(CH(2)P(t)Bu(2))(2)](-) has been isolated and structurally characterized in both its anionic Cu(I) and neutral (formally) Cu(II) oxidation states. A large rate constant for the self-exchange electron-transfer reaction (k(S) >or= 10(7) M(-1) s(-1)) makes this system a functional model for the type-1 active sites in blue copper proteins. Multiedge X-ray absorption spectroscopy, multifrequency electron paramagnetic resonance, and density functional theory analyses collectively indicate that the oxidized form is best regarded as a Cu(I)-aminyl radical complex rather than a Cu(II)-amido species, with about 70% localization of the unpaired electron on the NR(2) unit. Hydrogen-atom transfer and C-C coupling reactions are presented as examples of chemical reactivity manifested by this unusual electronic structure.

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