Pendant bases as proton relays in iron hydride and dihydrogen complexes

Renee M. Henry, Richard K. Shoemaker, Daniel L. DuBois, M. Rakowski DuBois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


The complex trans-[HFe(PNP)(dmpm)(CH3CN)]BPh4, 3, (where PNP is Et2PCH2N(CH3)CH 2PEt2 and dmpm is Me2PCH2PMe 2) can be successively protonated in two steps using increasingly strong acids. Protonation with 1 equiv of p-cyanoanilinium tetrafluoroborate in acetone-d6 at -80 °C results in ligand protonation and the formation of endo (4a) and exo (4b) isomers of frans-[HFe(PNHP)(dmpm)(CH 3CN)]-(BPFu)2. The endo isomer undergoes rapid intramolecular proton/hydride exchange with an activation barrier of 12 kcal/mol. The exo isomer does not exchange. Studies of the reaction of 3 with a weaker acid (anisidinium tetrafluoroborate) in acetonitrile indicate that a rapid intermolecular proton exchange interconverts isomers 4a and 4b, and a pKa value of 12 was determined for these two isomers. Protonation of 3 with 2 equiv of triflic acid results in the protonation of both the PNP ligand and the metal hydride to form the dihydrogen complex [(H2)Fe(PNHP) (dmpm)(CH3CN)]3+, 11. Studies of related complexes [HFe(PNP)(dmpm)(CO)]+ (12) and [HFe(depp)(dmpm)(CH 3CN)]+ (10) (where depp is bis(diethylphosphino)propane) confirm the important roles of the pendant base and the ligand trans to the hydride ligand in the rapid intra- and intermolecular hydride/proton exchange reactions observed for 4. Features required for an effective proton relay and their potential relevance to the iron-only hydrogenase enzymes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3002-3010
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 8 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pendant bases as proton relays in iron hydride and dihydrogen complexes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this