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J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Feb 10;132(5):1676-84. doi: 10.1021/ja908955t.

Synthesis and molecular and electronic structures of reduced bis(imino)pyridine cobalt dinitrogen complexes: ligand versus metal reduction.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Baker Laboratory, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Sodium amalgam reduction of the aryl-substituted bis(imino)pyridine cobalt dihalide complexes ((Ar)PDI)CoCl(2) and ((iPr)BPDI)CoCl(2) ((Ar)PDI = 2,6-(2,6-R(2)-C(6)H(3)N=CMe)(2)C(5)H(3)N (R = (i)Pr, Et, Me); (iPr)BPDI = 2,6-(2,6-(i)Pr(2)-C(6)H(3)N=CPh)(2)C(5)H(3)N) in the presence of an N(2) atmosphere furnished the corresponding neutral cobalt dinitrogen complexes ((Ar)PDI)CoN(2) and ((iPr)BPDI)CoN(2). Magnetic measurements on these compounds establish doublet ground states. Two examples, ((iPr)PDI)CoN(2) and ((iPr)BPDI)CoN(2), were characterized by X-ray diffraction and exhibit metrical parameters consistent with one-electron chelate reduction and a Co(I) oxidation state. Accordingly, the toluene solution EPR spectrum of ((iPr)PDI)CoN(2) at 23 degrees C exhibits an isotropic signal with a g value of 2.003 and hyperfine coupling constant of 8 x 10(-4) cm(-1) to the I = 7/2 (59)Co center, suggesting a principally bis(imino)pyridine-based SOMO. Additional one-electron reduction of ((iPr)PDI)CoN(2) was accomplished by treatment with Na[C(10)H(8)] in THF and yielded the cobalt dinitrogen anion [((iPr)PDI)CoN(2)](-). DFT calculations on the series of cationic, neutral, and anionic bis(imino)pyridine cobalt dinitrogen compounds establish Co(I) centers in each case and a chelate-centered reduction in each of the sequential one-electron reduction steps. Frequency calculations successfully reproduce the experimentally determined N[triple bond]N infrared stretching frequencies and validate the computational methods. The electronic structures of the reduced cobalt dinitrogen complexes are evaluated in the broader context of bis(imino)pyridine base metal chemistry and the influence of the metal d electron configuration on the preference for closed-shell versus triplet diradical dianions.

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