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Science. 2006 Sep 1;313(5791):1276-9.

Triple-bond reactivity of diphosphorus molecules.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA.


We report a mild method for generating the diphosphorus molecule or its synthetic equivalent in homogeneous solution; the P2 allotrope of the element phosphorus is normally obtained only under extreme conditions (for example, from P4 at 1100 kelvin). Diphosphorus is extruded from a niobium complex designed for this purpose and can be trapped efficiently by two equivalents of an organic diene to produce an organodiphosphorus compound. Diphosphorus stabilized by coordination to tungsten pentacarbonyl can be generated similarly at 25 degrees C, and in this stabilized form it still efficiently consumes two organic diene molecules for every diphosphorus unit.

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