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Issue 6, 2018
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Key factors in pincer ligand design

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Pincers, tridentate ligands that prefer a meridional geometry, are a rising class because of their distinctive combination of properties. They permit a good level of control on the nature of the coordination sphere by holding the donor groups in a predictable arrangement. Some groups, such as an aryl or a pyridine, that would normally be easily lost as monodentate ligands, become reliably coordinated, especially if they form the central donor unit of the three. Many pincer complexes show exceptional thermal stability, a property that is particularly prized in homogeneous catalysis where they can permit high temperature operation. The connectors between the three donor groups are often rigid, enforcing a strict mer geometry but flexible linkers permit fac binding and even fluxionality between the two forms. Rigid pincers can make good ligands for asymmetric catalysis—if the wingtip groups cannot easily rotate they may instead maintain a geometry in which suitable substituents project into the active site area of the catalyst where they help enantio-differentiation of the relevant transition states. Examples have been selected to illustrate these and other properties of this promising ligand class.

Graphical abstract: Key factors in pincer ligand design

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Nov 2017 and first published on 12 Feb 2018

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/C7CS00693D
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2018,47, 1959-1968
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    Key factors in pincer ligand design

    E. Peris and R. H. Crabtree, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2018, 47, 1959
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CS00693D

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