The complexes [(tbta)Co(μ-CA-2H)Co(tbta)(CH3CN)](BF4)21 and [(tbta)Co(μ-OH)2Co(tbta)](BF4)42 (tbta = tris[(1-benzyl-1H-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)methyl]amine and CA = chloranilic acid) were synthesized and characterized by X-ray crystallography, SQUID magnetometry and NMR spectroscopy. The reactions to form these complexes deliver 1 as a paramagnetic species containing two high spin Co(II) centers, and 2 as a diamagnetic compound with two low spin Co(III) centers. Structural analysis shows that in 1 the capped-octahedral environment around the Co(II) centers is highly distorted with rather long bonds between the metal and donor atoms. The tbta ligand binds to the Co(II) centers through the three triazole nitrogen donor atoms in a facial form, with the Co–N(amine) distance of 2.494(2) Å acting as a capping bond to the octahedron. In the crystal an unusual observation of one acetonitrile molecule statistically occupying the coordination sites at both Co(II) centers is made. 1 displays a series of intermolecular C–H⋯Cl and π–π interactions leading to extended three-dimensional structures in the solid state. These interactions lead to the formation of voids and explain why only one acetonitrile molecule can be bound to the dinuclear complexes. In contrast to 1, the cobalt centers in 2 display a more regular octahedral environment with shorter cobalt–donor atom distances, as would be expected for a low spin Co(III) situation. The tbta ligand acts as a perfect tetradentate ligand in this case with the cobalt–N(amine) distance of 2.012(3) Å falling in the range of a normal bond. Thus, we present the rare instances where the ligand tbta has been observed to bind in a perfectly tetradentate fashion in its metal complexes. The room temperature magnetic moment of 6.30 μB for 1 shows values typical of two high spin Co(II) centers, and this value decreases at temperatures lower than 30 K indicating a weak antiferromagnetic coupling and zero field splitting. Mass spectrometric analysis of 2 provided evidence for the formation of an oxo-bridged dicobalt complex in the gas phase.
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