The exceptionally rich coordination chemistry generated by Schiff-base ligands derived from o-vanillin†
Ortho-vanillin became very popular in coordination chemistry because of its Schiff bases, which generate a rich variety of complexes, ranging from oligonuclear species to coordination polymers. Some of these organic molecules are particularly useful in metallosupramolecular chemistry for assembling homo- and heterometallic helicates. The Schiff bases obtained using aminoalcohols open the door to the synthesis of homo- and heterometallic clusters with various nuclearities and surprising topologies of the metal centers. Several relevant structural types are reviewed. The heterobinuclear 3d–3d′ and 3d–4f complexes are valuable building-blocks for the synthesis of heterotrimetallic systems. Beyond the richness of this chemistry, the complexes obtained from o-vanillin-based Schiff ligands show interesting properties: magnetism, luminescence, chirality, catalysis, cytotoxicity, and ferroelectricity. This paper reviews recent data that illustrate a very fertile and dynamic research field in coordination chemistry and materials science.