Bimolecular Reductive Elimination of Ethane from Pyridine(diimine) Iron Methyl Complexes: Mechanism, Electronic Structure, and Entry into [2+2] Cycloaddition Catalysis

Carli B. Kovel, Jonathan M. Darmon, S. Chantal E. Stieber, Gisselle Pombar, Tyler P. Pabst, Bastian Theis, Zoë R. Turner, Ökten Üngör, Michael Shatruk, Serena DeBeer, Paul J. Chirik

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Abstract

The application of bimolecular reductive elimination to the activation of iron catalysts for alkene-diene cycloaddition is described. Key to this approach was the synthesis, characterization, electronic structure determination, and ultimately solution stability of a family of pyridine(diimine) iron methyl complexes with diverse steric properties and electronic ground states. Both the aryl-substituted, (MePDI)FeCH3 and (EtPDI)FeCH3 (RPDI = 2,6-(2,6-R2-C6H3N═CMe)2C5H3N), and the alkyl-substituted examples, (CyAPDI)FeCH3 (CyAPDI = 2,6-(C6H11N═CMe)2C5H3N), have molecular structures significantly distorted from planarity and S = 3/2 ground states. The related N-arylated derivative bearing 2,6-di-isopropyl aryl substituents, (iPrPDI)FeCH3, has an idealized planar geometry and exhibits spin crossover behavior from S = 1/2 to S = 3/2 states. At 23 °C under an N2 atmosphere, both (MePDI)FeCH3 and (EtPDI)FeCH3 underwent reductive elimination of ethane to form the iron dinitrogen precatalysts, [(MePDI)Fe(N2)]2(μ-N2) and [(EtPDI)Fe(N2)]2(μ-N2), respectively, while (iPrPDI)FeCH3 proved inert to C-C bond formation. By contrast, addition of butadiene to all three iron methyl complexes induced ethane formation and generated the corresponding iron butadiene complexes, (RPDI)Fe(η4-C4H6) (R = Me, Et, iPr), known precatalysts for the [2+2] cycloaddition of olefins and dienes. Kinetic, crossover experiments, and structural studies were combined with magnetic measurements and Mössbauer spectroscopy to elucidate the electronic and steric features of the iron complexes that enable this unusual reductive elimination and precatalyst activation pathway. Transmetalation of methyl groups between iron centers was fast at ambient temperature and independent of steric environment or spin state, while the intermediate dimer underwent the sterically controlled rate-determining reaction with either N2 or butadiene to access a catalytically active iron compound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5061-5073
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume145
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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