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Inorg Chem. 2009 Mar 16;48(6):2605-13. doi: 10.1021/ic802254f.

Self-assembled Pd(II) metallocycles using an ambidentate donor and the study of square-triangle equilibria.

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  • 1Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560 012, India.


The self-assembly reaction of a cis-blocked 90 degrees square planar metal acceptor with a symmetrical linear flexible linker is expected to yield a [4 + 4] self-assembled square, a [3 + 3] assembled triangle, or a mixture of these. However, if the ligand is a nonsymmetrical ambidentate, it is expected to form a complex mixture comprising several linkage isomeric squares and triangles as a result of different connectivities of the ambidentate linker. We report instead that the reaction of a 90 degrees acceptor cis-(dppf)Pd(OTf)(2) [where dppf = 1,1'-bis(diphenylphosphino)ferrocene] with an equimolar amount of the ambidentate unsymmetrical ligand Na-isonicotinate unexpectedly yields a mixture of symmetrical triangles and squares in the solution. An analogous reaction using cis-(tmen)Pd(NO(3))(2) instead of cis-(dppf)Pd(OTf)(2) also produced a mixture of symmetrical triangles and squares in the solution. In both cases the square was isolated as the sole product in the solid state, which was characterized by a single crystal structure analysis. The equilibrium between the triangle and the square in the solution is governed by the enthalpic and entropic contributions. The former parameter favors the formation of the square due to less strain in the structure whereas the latter one favors the formation of triangles due to the formation of more triangles from the same number of starting linkers. The effects of temperature and concentration on the equilibria have been studied by NMR techniques. This represents the first report on the study of square-triangle equilibria obtained using a nonsymmetric ambidentate linker. Detail NMR spectroscopy along with the ESI-mass spectrometry unambiguously identified the components in the mixture while the X-ray structure analysis determined the solid-state structure.

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