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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Jun 24;131(24):8603-13. doi: 10.1021/ja901706b.

Investigations of iridium-mediated reversible C-H bond cleavage: characterization of a 16-electron iridium(III) methyl hydride complex.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3290, USA.


New iridium complexes of a tridentate pincer ligand, 2,6-bis(di-tert-butylphosphinito)pyridine (PONOP), have been prepared and used in the study of hydrocarbon C-H bond activation. Intermolecular oxidative addition of a benzene C-H bond was directly observed with [(PONOP)Ir(I)(cyclooctene)][PF(6)] at ambient temperature, resulting in a cationic five-coordinate iridium(III) phenyl hydride product. Protonation of the (PONOP)Ir(I) methyl complex yielded the corresponding iridium(III) methyl hydride cation, a rare five-coordinate, 16-valence electron transition metal alkyl hydride species which was characterized by X-ray diffraction. Kinetic studies of C-H bond coupling and reductive elimination reactions from the five-coordinate complexes have been carried out. Exchange NMR spectroscopy measurements established a barrier of 17.8(4) kcal/mol (22 degrees C) for H-C(aryl) bond coupling in the iridium(III) phenyl hydride cation and of 9.3(4) kcal/mol (-105 degrees C) for the analogous H-C(alkyl) coupling in the iridium(III) methyl hydride cation. The origin of the higher barrier of H-C(aryl) relative to H-C(alkyl) bond coupling is proposed to be influenced by a hindered rotation about the Ir-C(aryl) bond, a result of the sterically demanding PONOP ligand.

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