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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Jul 31;135(30):11266-73. doi: 10.1021/ja404476m. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

Reactivity of TEMPO toward 16- and 17-electron organometallic reaction intermediates: a time-resolved IR study.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley 94720, California, USA.


The (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-1-yl)oxyl radical (TEMPO) has been employed for an extensive range of chemical applications, ranging from organometallic catalysis to serving as a structural probe in biological systems. As a ligand in an organometallic complex, TEMPO can exhibit several distinct coordination modes. Here we use ultrafast time-resolved infrared spectroscopy to study the reactivity of TEMPO toward coordinatively unsaturated 16- and 17-electron organometallic reaction intermediates. TEMPO coordinates to the metal centers of the 16-electron species CpCo(CO) and Fe(CO)4, and to the 17-electron species CpFe(CO)2 and Mn(CO)5, via an associative mechanism with concomitant oxidation of the metal center. In these adducts, TEMPO thus behaves as an anionic ligand, characterized by a pyramidal geometry about the nitrogen center. Density functional theory calculations are used to facilitate interpretation of the spectra and to further explore the structures of the TEMPO adducts. To our knowledge, this study represents the first direct characterization of the mechanism of the reaction of TEMPO with coordinatively unsaturated organometallic complexes, providing valuable insight into its reactions with commonly encountered reaction intermediates. The similar reactivity of TEMPO toward each of the species studied suggests that these results can be considered representative of TEMPO's reactivity toward all low-valent transition metal complexes.

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