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Since the discovery of a stable “bottleable”N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC), there has been a spectacular explosion of interest in this ligand class. This interest stems from a desire to understand the fundamentals of the structure and bonding of these systems, but also because of their numerous and emerging applications in small molecule activation, homogeneous catalysis and Lewis acid-catalysed reactions. In this Tutorial Review, we introduce the reader to NHCs, cover general synthetic methods to prepare anionic tethered NHCs and their metal complexes, and discuss emerging applications in reactivity and catalytic studies.
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