Due to consumption of more than 2% of the world's annual energy supply by Haber–Bosch process and the strongest triple bond (N≡N) in nature, directly coupling N 2 with small molecules is particularly important and challenging, let alone in a catalytic fashion. Here we first demonstrate that a NNN-type pincer phosphorus complex could act as a catalyst to couple dinitrogen with a series of small molecules including carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, N-ethylidenemethylamine, and acetonitrile in the presence of diborane(4) under a mild condition by theoretical calculations.
Selective cleavage of the B–O bond or B–H bond in HBpin can be achieved by adjusting the pincer ligand of a phosphorus(III) compound guided by a combination of theoretical prediction and experimental verification. Theoretical calculations reveal that a pincer-type phosphorus compound with an [ONO]3– ligand reacts with HBpin, leading to cleavage of the stronger B–O bonds (ΔG°⧧ = 23.2 kcal mol–1) rather than the weaker B–H bond (ΔG°⧧ = 26.4 kcal mol–1).
The σ-bond activation by main group element has received enormous attention from theoretical and experimental chemists. Here, the reaction of C-X (X = Cl, Br, I) bonds in benzyl and allyl halides with a pincer-type phosphorus(III) species was reported. A series of structurally robust phosphorus(V) compounds were formed via the formal oxidative addition reactions of C-X bonds to the phosphorus(III) center. Density functional theory calculations show that the nucleophilic addition process is more favorable than the direct oxidative addition mechanism.
Pincer complexes are a remarkably versatile family benefited from their stability, diversity, and tunability. Many of them contain aromatic organic rings at the periphery, and aromaticity plays an important role in their stability and properties, whereas their metallacyclic cores are not aromatic. Herein, we report rhodapentalenes, which can be viewed as pincer complexes in which the metallacyclic cores exhibit considerable aromatic character. Rhodapentalenes show good thermal stability, although the rhodium-carbon bonds in such compounds are fragile.