A very peculiar family of N-heterocyclic phosphines: unusual structures and the unique reactivity of 1,3,2-diazaphospholenes
This Perspective gives an account of the peculiar electronic and molecular structures of N-heterocyclic phosphines featuring either a single 1,3,2-diazaphospholene (DAP) ring with an exocyclic P-substituent X or two DAP rings linked by a P–P bond (bis-diazaphospholenyls), respectively, and their impact on the chemical properties of these molecules. The bonding situation in simple DAPs is epitomized by strong hyperconjugation between endocyclic π-type electrons and the exocyclic P–X bond. This interaction may induce a perceptible ionic polarization of the P–X bond which can persist even in the limit of a vanishing electronegativity gradient between P and X, and becomes visible in unusual geometric distortions of molecular structures and a unique chemical behaviour. Structural distortions are particularly evident in bond lengthening effects in P-halogen and P-phosphino derivatives R2P–DAP (with R2P ≠ DAP) which span the whole range from covalent molecules to contact ion pairs with a close relation to frustrated Lewis-pairs. The most significant impact on the chemical properties is found for P-phosphino- and P-hydrogen derivatives where reactions at substantially accelerated rates or totally new reaction modes can be observed, and new stoichiometric and first catalytic processes exploiting these features are currently emerging. The recently discovered bis-diazaphospholenyls differ from the simple derivatives as their central bond remains unpolarised as a consequence of the symmetric molecular structure. The occurrence of low-energy P–P bond homolysis that was nonetheless observed in one case is according to the results of thermochemical studies of P–P bond fission reactions attributable to the effects of steric congestion and induces chemical reactivity that can be considered complementary to that of the simple R2P–DAPs. Some concluding remarks will pay attention to a facet of DAP reactivity that has so far been widely neglected but is currently receiving increasing attention, namely well-defined ring-opening processes.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Main Group Transformations