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While we have previously reported that [1-(Mes2B)-8-(Me3NCH2)-C10H6]+ (+) complexes fluoride ions to form [1-(Mes2FB)-8-(Me3NCH2)-C10H6] (2-F), we now show that this cationic borane also complexes cyanide to form [1-(Mes2(NC)B)-8-(Me3NCH2)-C10H6] (2-CN). This reaction also occurs under biphasic conditions (H2O–CHCl3) and may serve to transportcyanide in organic phases. The zwitterionic cyanoborate2-CN has been fully characterized and its crystal structure determined. UV-vistitration experiments carried out in THF indicate that + has a higher affinity for fluoride (K > 108 M−1) than cyanide (K = 8.0 (±0.5) × 105 M−1). Steric effects which impede cyanide binding to the sterically congested boron center of + are most likely at the origin of this selectivity. Finally, electrochemical studies indicate that + is significantly more electrophilic than its neutral precursor 1-(Mes2B)-8-(Me2NCH2)-(C10H6) (1). These studies also show that reduction of + is irreversible, possibly because of elimination of the NMe3 moiety under reductive conditions. In fact, OTf reacts with NaBH4 to afford 1-(Mes2B)-8-(CH3)-(C10H6) (4) which has also been fully characterized.
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