• Synthesis and Reactivity of Main Group Complexes for Applications in Small Molecule Activation

      Nguyen, Minh Tho; Department of Chemistry
      The work described in this thesis is focused on the preparation of a series of novel main group complexes, featuring unusual structural and bonding situations, and the study of their reactivity toward small molecules. The new zinc complexes dimphZnBu (V-2) and dimphZnCl2Li(THF)3 (V-3), supported by a diiminophenyl (dimph) ligand were prepared. The reaction of complex V-3 with LiHBEt3 resulted in hydride transfer to the C=N imine group to give an unusual zinc dimer (V-7). The latter transformation occurs via formation of compound (ɳ1(C),ĸ1(N)- 2,6-(2,6-iPr2C6H3N=CH)2C6H3)2Zn (V-5) which can be also accessed by reduction of V-7 with KC8. Diiminophenyl (dimph) proved to be an excellent ligand platform to stabilise a low-valent phosphorus centre. The resultant compound dimphP (VI-2), which can be rationalised as an imino-stabilised phosphinidene or benzoazaphopshole, shows remarkable chemical stability toward water and oxygen. VI-2 reacts with excess strong acid HCl to generate the P(III) chloride (dimHph)PCl (VI-6). Surprisingly, substitution of the chloride under some nucleophilic (KOBut) and electrophilic conditions (Me3SiOTf) regenerates the parent compound VI-2 by proton removal from the weakly acidic CH2N position. A related species (dimH2ph)P (VI-10) is produced upon thermal rearrangement of the hydride (dimHph)PH (VI-9). The molecular structure and reactivity of compounds VI-2 and other related compounds are also discussed. The reduction of the O,C,O-chelated phosphorus (III) chloride (VI-16) ( O,C,O = 2,6-bis[(2,6-diisopropyl)phenoxyl]phenyl) with KC8 or PMe3 resulted in the formation of a cyclic three-membered phosphorus compound (VI-18). The intermediacy of phosphinidene VI-17 was confirmed by trapping experiments and a VT 31P{1H} NMR study. The reaction of in-situ generated phosphinidene with either PhSiH3 or HBpin resulted in the formation of an unprecedented phosphine (VI-23). The treatment of VI-16 with two equivalents of DippNHC carbene led to ArP(Cl)NHC product (VI-24). The germylone dimNHCGe (dimNHC = diimino N-Heterocyclic Carbene, VII-8) was successfully prepared by the reduction of germanium cation (VII-7) with KC8. The molecular structure of VII-8 was unambiguously established, using NMR spectroscopy and single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. The reactivity of VII-8 was investigated. VII-8 is inactive towards butadiene but undergoes an oxidative cyclization with tetrachloro-o-benzoquinone to give a tetragermanium derivative. VII-8 undergoes oxidation addition of CH3I and PhI, followed by an unusual migration of the Me and Ph groups from germanium to the carbene ligand. Related chemistry takes place upon protonation with dry HCl, which results in the migration of the hydride to the carbene ligand.