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Inorg Chem. 2007 Oct 29;46(22):9450-62. Epub 2007 Oct 2.

Synthesis, structure, spectral and electrochemical properties, and catalytic use of cobalt(III)-oxo cubane clusters.

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Department of Chemistry, Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam, India.


Olive-green cobalt(III) complexes having the general formula Co4O4(O2CMe)4L4 (1) where L = py (1a), 4-Mepy (1b), 4-Etpy (1c), and 4-CNpy (1d) have been prepared by the H2O2 oxidation of a mixture of Co2+, MeCO2-, and pyridine or 4-substituted pyridines in a 1:2:1 molar ratio in methanol. Spectroscopic and X-ray crystallographic studies show that these complexes contain a tetrameric cubane-like core [Co4(mu3-O)4]4+ where the four cobalt atoms form an approximate tetrahedron with edge lengths of approximately 2.75 A. Each cobalt in the crystallographically determined structure of Co4(mu3-O)4(mu-O2CMe)4L4 in 1a.NaClO4.3.5H2O and 1b.3H2O is hexacoordinate. Infrared spectra of the complexes show characteristic bands near 700, 635, and 580 cm-1 due to the central cubane-like core. 1H NMR spectra of the complexes show that the dissolved species are essentially diamagnetic and also that the complexes maintain their integrity in solution. UV-vis spectra of the green solutions have been interpreted in terms of ligand-field and charge-transfer bands. The electrochemical behavior of the complexes studied by cyclic and differential pulse voltammetric techniques indicates that the [(CoIII)4(mu3-O)4]4+ core present in the complexes undergoes a reversible one-electron oxidation to the [(CoIII)3CoIV(mu3-O)4]5+ core with an E1/2 value below 1 V. This suggests that these complexes of cobalt may be suitable as catalysts for the oxidation of organic compounds. Preliminary investigations indicate that 1a has a role to play in the cobalt-catalyzed aerobic oxidation of neat ethylbenzene and p-xylene.

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