Abstract The crystal structure of tricarbonyl[1,2,2 a,12 a-η-5,10-dimethyldibenzo[ a,c] cyclobuta[ f] cyclooctene-3,12-dione] iron, C 20O 2H 14Fe(CO) 3, has been determined by the single crystal X-ray diffraction technique using data collected with a fully automated diffractometer. The unit cell is monoclinic, space group P2 1/ c with a = 12.025(2), b = 23.204(3), c = 14.614(2) Å, β = 102.16(2)°, and contains eight molecules (two per asymmetric unit). The structure was elucidated to study the coordination of the iron atom and to correlate the conformation of the eight-membered ring with an NMR study. The final structure was obtained by Patterson-superposition and Fourier techniques and refined by full-matrix least-squares to a crystallographic residual of 0.070. In both independent molecules the iron atom is 1.77 Å from the cyclobutadiene ring to which it is coordinated. The eight-membered ring is flattened from a boat conformation and the six-membered rings are twisted from coplanarity by an angle of 74°. The twist is such that if one ring points above the eight-membered ring, the other ring will point below it with concomitant pointing in the opposite sense by neighboring carbonyl groups. Such a structure has conformational chirality. It is postulated that the stability of each enantiometer is due to the particularly high energy of the transition state through which each would pass to achieve inter-conversion.