Unusual structural and spectroscopic features of some PNP-pincer complexes of iron

Elizabeth M. Pelczar, Thomas J. Emge, Karsten Krogh-Jespersen, Alan S. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


We report a structural, spectroscopic, and computational study of two tBuPNP (2,6-bis(di-tert-butylphosphinomethyl)pyridine) complexes of iron, (tBuPNP)FeCl2 (1) and (tBuPNP)Fe(CO) 2 (3). Complex 1, (tBuPNP)FeCl2, also independently synthesized by Milstein, has unusually long iron-ligand bond distances. DFT calculations show that these are clearly attributable to its high-spin electronic structure, and in particular to occupancy of the strongly antibonding dx2-y2 orbital. The crystal structure of 3 reveals two unusual aspects. (1) The geometry around the iron atom in 3 is much closer to square pyramidal (SQP; apical CO) than to trigonal bipyramidal (TBP), although five-coordinate Fe(O) complexes are generally expected to be TBP; moreover, Chirik et al. have reported that (iPrPNP)Fe(CO)2 has essentially a perfect TBP structure (iPrPNP = 2,6-bis(di-isopropyl-phosphinomethyl)pyridine). (2) The apical carbonyl ligand in 3 deviates significantly from linearity (Fe-C-O = 171.9°). Additionally, complex 3 is intensely blue in color, which is unusual for an Fe(O) complex and also significantly different from the red color of Chirik's ( iPrTNP)Fe(CO)2 species. Results from DFT calculations reproduce and explain these structural and spectroscopic aspects as well as the contrast between 3 and its iPrPNP analogue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5759-5767
Number of pages9
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 24 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Unusual structural and spectroscopic features of some PNP-pincer complexes of iron'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this