Syntheses of novel bis(alkylimino)acenaphthene (BIAN) and tetrakis(arylimino)pyracene (TIP) ligands and studies of their redox chemistry

Vasudevan, Kalyan Vikram
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The evolution of the present work began with the syntheses of novel bis(alkylimino)acenaphthene (BIAN) ligands. At the outset of this research, despite the presence of dozens of aryl-BIAN ligands in the literature, there were as of yet no reported BIAN ligands bearing alkyl substituents. Given the nearly ubiquitous use of transition metal complexes of alkyl diazabutadiene (DAB) ligands for e.g. catalysis and as ligands for carbene chemistry, interest was generated in developing this emerging field of synthetic chemistry. Initial studies focused on the synthesis of alkyl-BIAN ligands since the traditional synthetic approaches that had been developed for aryl-BIAN ligands were unsuccessful for the alkyl analogues. As an alternate synthetic route, it was decided to employ amino- and imino-alane transfer reagents which had previously proved successful for the conversion of C=O into C=N-R functionalities. While this transfer route had proved successful to synthesize moderate yields of highly fluorinated DAB ligands, it was unknown how or whether this methodology would apply in the case of alkylated BIAN systems.

Over the past decade, there has been a surge of interest regarding lanthanide complexes that are capable of undergoing spontaneous electron transfer processes. There are several reports in the literature that describe the ability of Ln(II) ions to undergo spontaneous oxidation, thereby causing one-electron reduction of the coordinated ligand and generally resulting in the corresponding Ln(III) complex. The present work focused on an enhanced understanding of the electronic communication between the lanthanide and the attached ligand. Particular emphasis was placed on defining the resulting oxidation states and the manner in which delocalized electrons of the radical anion species travel over a conjugated system. This fundamental information was gleaned from single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies and magnetic moment measurements that were obtained using the Evans method. Additional insights stemmed from the use of more classical techniques such as IR and NMR spectroscopy. In favorable cases, the presence or absence of spectral peaks can permit assignment of the lanthanide oxidation state. Accordingly, the research plan was to synthesize a series of BIAN-supported decamethyllanthanocene complexes with the goal of learning how to control the spontaneous charge transfer that had been reported in the literature.

A longer term goal was to develop a bifunctional ligand of the BIAN type that was capable of accommodating two lanthanide or main group element moieties. Systems with tunable electronic interactions between lanthanide or main group elements are of interest because they offer the prospect of extended delocalization of electron density. Systems of this type have potential applications as e.g. molecular wires and single-molecule magnets. Indeed, such systems have been investigated by using bis(bipyridyl) and bis(terpyridyl) ligands to support two redox-active moieties. However, in the present work, it was recognized that a bifunctional BIAN-type ligand might be of considerable interest as the supporting structure for studying the communication between lanthanide or main group element moieties. A synthesis of variously substituted tetrakis(imino)pyracene (TIP) ligands was therefore undertaken. The flat, rigid nature of the TIP ligands rendered them ideal scaffolds for studying the redox behavior and electronic communication between lanthanide or main group element centers. The new TIP ligand class also proved to be useful for the assembly of the first example of a metallopolymer based on a BIAN-type ligand.