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Inorg Chem. 2019 Sep 16;58(18):12234-12244. doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b01673. Epub 2019 Aug 26.

Tuning Metal-Metal Interactions through Reversible Ligand Folding in a Series of Dinuclear Iron Complexes.

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P. Roy and Diana T. Vagelos Laboratories, Department of Chemistry , University of Pennsylvania , 231 South 34th Street , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 19104 , United States.


A dinucleating macrocyclic ligand with two redox-active, pyridyldiimine components was shown to undergo reversible ligand folding to accommodate various substitution patterns, metal ion spin states, and degrees of Fe-Fe bonding within the cluster. An unfolded-ligand geometry with a rectangular Fe2(μ-Cl)2 core and an Fe-Fe distance of 3.3262(5) Å served as a direct precursor to two different folded-ligand complexes. Chemical reduction in the presence of PPh3 resulted in a diamagnetic, folded ligand complex with an Fe-Fe bonding interaction (dFe-Fe = 2.7096(17) Å) between two intermediate spin (SFe = 1) Fe(II) centers. Ligand folding was also induced through anion exchange on the unfolded-ligand species, producing a complex with three PhS- ligands and a temperature-dependent Fe-Fe distance. In this latter example, the weak ligand field of the thiolate ligands led to a product with weakly coupled, high-spin Fe(II) ions (SFe = 2; J = -50.1 cm-1) that form a bonding interaction in the ground state and a nonbonding interaction in the excited state(s), as determined by SQUID magnetometry and variable temperature crystallography. Finally, both folded-ligand complexes were shown to reform an unfolded-ligand geometry through convergent syntheses of a complex with an Fe-Fe bonded Fe2(μ-SPh)2 core (dFe-Fe = 2.7320(11) Å). Experimentally validated DFT calculations were used to investigate the electronic structures of all species as a way to understand the origin of Fe-Fe bonding interactions, the extent of ligand reduction, and the nature of the spin systems that result from multiple, weakly interacting spin centers.

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