Pnictogen-hydride activation by (silox)3Ta (silox = tBu3SiO); Attempts to circumvent the constraints of orbital symmetry in N2 activation

Elliott B. Hulley, Jeffrey B. Bonanno, Peter T. Wolczanski, Thomas R. Cundari, Emil B. Lobkovsky

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30 Scopus citations


Activation of N2 by (silox)3Ta (1, silox = tBu3SiO) to afford (silox)3Ta=N-N=Ta(silox) 3 (12-N2) does not occur despite ΔG°cald = -55.6 kcal/mol because of constraints of orbital symmetry, prompting efforts at an independent synthesis that included a study of REH2 activation (E = N, P, As). Oxidative addition of REH 2 to 1 afforded (silox)3HTaEHR (2-NHR, R = H, Me, nBu, C6H4-p-X (X = H, Me, NMe2); 2-PHR, R = H, Ph; 2-AsHR, R = H, Ph), which underwent 1,2-H2- elimination to form (silox)3Ta=NR (1=NR; R = H, Me, nBu, C6H4-p-X (X = H (X-ray), Me, NMe2, CF 3)), (silox)3Ta=PR (1=PR; R = H, Ph), and (silox) 3Ta=AsR (1=AsR; R = H, Ph). Kinetics revealed NH bond-breaking as critical, and As > N > P rates for (silox)3HTaEHPh (2-EHPh) were attributed to (1) ΔG°calc(N) < ΔG° calc(P) ∼ ΔG°calc(As); (2) similar fractional reaction coordinates (RCs), but with RC shorter for N < P∼As; and (3) stronger TaE bonds for N > P∼As. Calculations of the pnictidenes aided interpretation of UV-vis spectra. Addition of H2NNH2 or H2N-N(cNC2H3Me) to 1 afforded 1=NH, obviating these routes to 12-N2, and formation of (silox)3MeTaNHNH2 (4-NHNH2) and (silox) 3MeTaNH(-cNCHMeCH2) (4-NH(azir)) occurred upon exposure to (silox)3Ta=CH2 (1=CH2). Thermolyses of 4-NHNH2 and 4-NH(azir) yielded [(silox)2TaMe](μ- NαHNβ)(μ-NγHN δH)[Ta(silox)2] (5) and [(silox)3MeTa] (μ-η2-N,N: η1-C-NHNHCH2CH 2CH2)[Ta(κ-O,C-OSitBu2CMe 2CH2)(silox)2] (7, X-ray), respectively. (silox)3Ta=CPPh3 (1=CPPh3, X-ray) was a byproduct from Ph3PCH2 treatment of 1 to give 1=CH 2. Addition of Na(silox) to [(THF)2Cl3Ta] 2(μ-N2) led to [(silox)2ClTa](μ-N 2) (8-Cl), and via subsequent methylation, [(silox) 2MeTa]2(μ-N2) (8-Me); both dimers were thermally stable. Orbital symmetry requirements for N2 capture by 1 and pertinent calculations are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8524-8544
Number of pages21
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 20 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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