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Role of coordination geometry in dictating the barrier to hydride migration in d6 square-pyramidal iridium and rhodium pincer complexes.

  • Findlater, Michael
  • Cartwright-Sykes, Alison
  • White, Peter S
  • Schauer, Cynthia K
  • Brookhart, Maurice
Published Article
Journal of the American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Aug 10, 2011
DOI: 10.1021/ja204851x
PMID: 21702471


Syntheses of the olefin hydride complexes [(POCOP)M(H)(olefin)][BAr(f)(4)] (6a-M, M = Ir or Rh, olefin = C(2)H(4); 6b-M, M = Ir or Rh, olefin = C(3)H(6); POCOP = 2,6-bis(di-tert-butylphosphinito)benzene; BAr(f) = tetrakis(3,5-trifluoromethylphenyl)borate) are reported. A single-crystal X-ray structure determination of 6b-Ir shows a square-pyramidal coordination geometry for Ir, with the hydride ligand occupying the apical position. Dynamic NMR techniques were used to characterize these complexes. The rates of site exchange between the hydride and the olefinic hydrogens yielded ΔG(++) = 15.6 (6a-Ir), 16.8 (6b-Ir), 12.0 (6a-Rh), and 13.7 (6b-Rh) kcal/mol. The NMR exchange data also established that hydride migration in the propylene complexes yields exclusively the primary alkyl intermediate arising from 1,2-insertion. Unexpectedly, no averaging of the top and bottom faces of the square-pyramidal complexes is observed in the NMR spectra at high temperatures, indicating that the barrier for facial equilibration is >20 kcal/mol for both the Ir and Rh complexes. A DFT computational study was used to characterize the free energy surface for the hydride migration reactions. The classical terminal hydride complexes, [M(POCOP)(olefin)H](+), are calculated to be the global minima for both Rh and Ir, in accord with experimental results. In both the Rh ethylene and propylene complexes, the transition state for hydride migration (TS1) to form the agostic species is higher on the energy surface than the transition state for in-place rotation of the coordinated C-H bond (TS2), while for Ir, TS2 is the high point on the energy surface. Therefore, only for the case of the Rh complexes is the NMR exchange rate a direct measure of the hydride migration barrier. The trends in the experimental barriers as a function of M and olefin are in good agreement with the trends in the calculated exchange barriers. The calculated barriers for the hydride migration reaction in the Rh complexes are ∼2 kcal/mol higher than for the Ir complexes, despite the fact that the energy difference between the olefin hydride ground state and the agostic alkyl structure is ∼4 kcal/mol larger for Ir than for Rh. This feature, together with the high barrier for interchange of the top and bottom faces of the complexes, is proposed to arise from the unique coordination geometry of the agostic complexes and the strong preference for a cis-divacant octahedral geometry in four-coordinate intermediates.


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