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Issue 35, 2017
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Rotaxane synthesis exploiting the M(I)/M(III) redox couple

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In the context of advancing the use of metal-based building blocks for the construction of mechanically interlocked molecules, we herein describe the preparation of late transition metal containing [2]rotaxanes (1). Capture and subsequent retention of the interlocked assemblies are achieved by the formation of robust and bulky complexes of rhodium(III) and iridium(III) through hydrogenation of readily accessible rhodium(I) and iridium(I) complexes [M(COD)(PPh3)2][BArF4] (M = Rh, 2a; Ir, 2b) and reaction with a bipyridyl terminated [2]pseudorotaxane (3·db24c8). This work was underpinned by detailed mechanistic studies examining the hydrogenation of 1 : 1 mixtures of 2 and bipy in CH2Cl2, which proceeds with disparate rates to afford [M(bipy)H2(PPh3)2][BArF4] (M = Rh, 4a[BArF4], t = 18 h @ 50 °C; Ir, 4b[BArF4], t < 5 min @ RT) in CH2Cl2 (1 atm H2). These rates are reconciled by (a) the inherently slower reaction of 2a with H2 compared to that of the third row congener 2b, and (b) the competing and irreversible reaction of 2a with bipy, leading to a very slow hydrogenation pathway, involving rate-limiting substitution of COD by PPh3. On the basis of this information, operationally convenient and mild conditions (CH2Cl2, RT, 1 atm H2, t ≤ 2 h) were developed for the preparation of 1, involving in the case of rhodium-based 1a pre-hydrogenation of 2a to form [Rh(PPh3)2]2[BArF4]2 (8) before reaction with 3·db24c8. In addition to comprehensive spectroscopic characterisation of 1, the structure of iridium-based 1b was elucidated in the solid-state using X-ray diffraction.

Graphical abstract: Rotaxane synthesis exploiting the M(i)/M(iii) redox couple

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Jul 2017, accepted on 15 Aug 2017 and first published on 24 Aug 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7DT02648J
Citation: Dalton Trans., 2017,46, 11645-11655
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    Rotaxane synthesis exploiting the M(I)/M(III) redox couple

    J. Emerson-King, R. C. Knighton, M. R. Gyton and A. B. Chaplin, Dalton Trans., 2017, 46, 11645
    DOI: 10.1039/C7DT02648J

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