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Title: N-heterocyclic carbene stabilisation of low valent metal centres for the activation of E-H bonds
Author: Phillips, Nicholas Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 9583
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the effects of coordinating highly sterically demanding and strongly electron donating saturated N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) at late transition metal centres. Chapter III details the synthesis of a range of iridium complexes of the type (NHC)2IrHxCly [x = 1, 2; y = 0, 1], bearing the saturated NHCs 5-Mes, 6-Mes and 7-Mes. Unusually facile activation chemistry is observed in the reaction of [Ir(COE)2Cl]2 with 6-Mes and 7-Mes to form the doubly cyclometallated species (6-Mes')2IrH and (7-Mes')2IrH, which were fully characterised. The responses of these complexes to the addition of dihydrogen and HCl were studied, leading to the controlled synthesis of range of precursors to 14-electron iridium cations. In Chapter IV the formation of low valent iridium cations with weakly coordinating anions is targeted. Isolation of the cationic complexes [(NHC)(NHC')IrH][BArf4] and [(NHC)2IrH2][BArf4] (NHC = 6-Mes, 7-Mes) showcases the stabilising power offered by these expanded ring systems. This allowed the study the interaction of these low valent species with a range of amine-borane substrates which are known to be readily dehydrogenated. Thermodynamic data on the C-H bond activation processes occurring at these iridium centres were able to be obtained due to facile, reversible oxidative addition of C-H bonds across the 14-electron iridium. Chapter V focuses on the effects of increasing the steric bulk of these NHCs to limit the coordination of multiple ligands at the metal centre. Use of 2,6-diisopropyl-phenyl (Dipp) groups on the expanded ring NHCs, instead of mesityl groups, leads to an unprecedented mode of reactivity with [Ir(COE)2Cl]2. Activation and cleavage of C-N bonds in the carbene ring is observed, resulting in an open chain ligand chelating to the metal centre. Activation of the backbone in this manner has allowed the synthesis of saturated NHCs bearing a weakly coordinating anion on the ring. Here the first example of an anionic, saturated NHC is reported. In Chapter VI these highly sterically demanding NHCs are exploited to stabilise active species in low valent gold chemistry. The extreme steric bulk of the 6-Dipp ligand disfavours reduction of Au(I) to Au(0), however the resulting cation is observed to interact strongly with the weakly coordinating anion, [BArf4]-. Thus, attempts were made to optimise the anion and conditions to isolate a catalytically relevant intermediate. The strong donating power of these expanded ring NHCs is also exploited to activate gold hydride complexes of the type (NHC)AuH (NHC = 6-Dipp, 7-Dipp). Analogues of [H3]+ containing gold atoms ([{LAu}2H]+ and [LAuH2]+) supported by expanded ring NHCs were also targeted.
Supervisor: Aldridge, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Organometallic Chemistry ; N-heterocyclic carbene ; bond activation ; dehydrogenation ; metal hydride ; gold ; iridium