Side-on coordination of diphosphorus to a mononuclear iron center

Science. 2022 Mar 25;375(6587):1393-1397. doi: 10.1126/science.abn7100. Epub 2022 Mar 24.


The diagonal relationship in the periodic table between phosphorus and carbon has set an expectation that the triple-bonded diatomic diphosphorus molecule (P2) should more closely mimic the attributes of acetylene (HC≡CH) rather than its group 15 congener dinitrogen (N2). Although acetylene has well-documented coordination chemistry with mononuclear transition metals, coordination complexes that feature P2 bound to a single metal center have remained elusive. We report the isolation and x-ray crystallographic characterization of a mononuclear iron complex featuring P2 coordination in a side-on, η2-binding mode. An analogous η2-bound bis-timethylsilylacetylene iron complex is reported for comparison. Nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared, and Mössbauer spectroscopic analysis-in conjunction with density functional theory calculations-demonstrate that η2-P2 and η2-acetylene ligands exert a similar electronic demand on mononuclear iron centers but exhibit different reactivity profiles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.