The never-ending pursuits for exploring aromatic molecular architectures result in the large libraries of aromatics with fascinating structures, which have greatly broadened the scope of aromaticity. Despite extensive efforts that have been paid to develop aromatic frameworks, the construction of polycyclic aromatics that share a bridgehead atom with more than three rings has never been accomplished.
The coordinating atoms in polydentate chelates are primarily heteroatoms. We present the first examples of pentadentate chelates with all binding atoms of the chelating agent being carbon atoms, denoted as CCCCC chelates. Having up to five metal-carbon bonds in the equatorial plane has not been previously observed in transition metal chemistry. Density functional theory calculations showed that the planar metallacycle has extended Craig-Möbius aromaticity arising from 12-center–12-electron dπ-pπ π-conjugation.