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We report the synthesis of copper(I) complexes of three ligands which contain a potential P,N,N,P-metal binding site. Elemental analysis confirms that the bulk products possess a composition of [CuL][PF6] where L = 1, 2 or 3. Electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI MS) provides evidence for speciation in MeCN or MeOH solutions and the formation of both [CuL]+ and [Cu2L2]2+; addition of NaCl to the ESI MS samples aids the observation of dinuclear species as [Cu2L2Cl]+ ions. NMR spectroscopic data for a CD3CN solution of [Cu(1)][PF6] were consistent with a mononuclear species, but more complex multinuclear spectra were observed for the same compound dissolved in CD2Cl2. In the solid state, dimeric species dominate. Crystals grown from CH2Cl2 solutions of [Cu(1)][PF6] are found to be [Cu2(1)2][PF6]2·6CH2Cl2; each Cu+ ion in the centrosymmetric cation is bound in an N,O,P,P-coordination sphere, the N-donor originating from the pyridine ring. In [Cu2(3)2][PF6]2, each bridging ligand in the centrosymmetric [Cu2(3)2]2+ ion acts as a P,N-chelate to each Cu+ ion. Competing with this dimeric assembly is that of a circular helicate in which each ligand 3 bridges adjacent pairs of copper(I) ions in a chiral, hexameric complex; both the Δ,Δ,Δ,Δ,Δ,Δ- and Λ,Λ,Λ,Λ,Λ,Λ-enantiomers are present in the crystal lattice; in [Cu6(3)6]6+, each ligand coordinates as a bis(P,N-chelate). The solution absorption spectra of [Cu(1)][PF6], [Cu(2)][PF6] and [Cu(3)][PF6] are dominated by ligand-based transitions and none of the copper(I) complexes exhibits emissive behaviour in solution.
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