New vistas in the molecular chemistry of thorium: low oxidation state complexes
Although the molecular chemistry of thorium is dominated by the +4 oxidation state accounts of Th(III) complexes have continued to increase in frequency since the first structurally characterised example was reported thirty years ago. The isolation of the first Th(II) complexes in 2015 and exciting recent Th(III) and Th(II) reactivity studies both indicate that this long-neglected area is set to undergo a rapid expansion in research activity over the next decade, as previously seen since the turn of the millennium for analogous U(III) small molecule activation chemistry. In this perspective article, we review synthetic routes to Th(III) and Th(II) complexes and summarise their distinctive physical properties. We provide a near-chronological discussion of these systems, focusing on structurally characterised examples, and cover complementary theoretical studies that rationalise electronic structures. All reactivity studies of Th(III) and Th(II) complexes that have been reported to date are described in detail.