The synthesis and characterization of a cationic molybdenum pyrrolidine complex are described that exhibits significant coordination-induced N-H bond weakening. The N-H bond dissociation free energy (BDFE) of the coordinated pyrrolidine in [(PhTpy)(PPh2Me)2Mo(NH(pyrr))][BArF24] ([1-NH(pyrr)]+PhTpy = 4′-Ph-2,2′,6′,2″-terpyridine, NH(pyrr) = pyrrolidine, ArF24 = [C6H3-3,5-(CF3)2]4) was determined to be between 41 and 51 kcal mol-1 by thermochemical analysis and supported by a density functional theory (DFT) computed value of 48 kcal mol-1. The complex [1-NH(pyrr)]+ underwent proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) to 2,4,6-tri-tert-butylphenoxyl radical, as well as spontaneous H2 evolution upon gentle heating to furnish the corresponding molybdenum pyrrolidide complex [(PhTpy)(PPh2Me)2Mo(N(pyrr))][BArF24] ([1-N(pyrr)]+). Thermolysis of the deuterated isotopologue [1-ND(pyrr)]+ still produced H2 with concomitant incorporation of the isotopic label into the pyrrolidide ligand in the product [(1-N(pyrr-dn)]+ (n = 0-2), consistent with an H2 evolution pathway involving intramolecular H-H bond formation followed by an intermolecular product-forming PCET step. These observations provide the context for understanding H2 evolution in the nonclassical ammine complex [(PhTpy)(PPh2Me)2Mo(NH3)][BArF24] ([1-NH3]+) and are supported by DFT-computed reaction thermochemistry. Overall, these studies offer rare insight into the H2 formation pathway in nonclassical amine complexes with N-H BDFEs below the thermodynamic threshold for H2 evolution and inform the development of well-defined, thermodynamically potent PCET reagents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry