While transition metals are well known for assuming the formal oxidation state of zero in various compounds main group elements have rarely engaged in this practice. Recent reports of N-heterocyclic carbene-stabilized main group diatomic allotropes (i.e., Si2, Ge2, P2, As2) denote a breakthrough of zero-oxidation state main group chemistry. This Perspective addresses the synthesis and characterization of these highly reactive main group molecules, with a particular emphasis on the very recent progress in the reactivity study of carbene-stabilized Si2 and P2.
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