A strong organic electron donor incorporating highly π-donating triphenylphosphonium ylidyl substituents†
The π-electron donor strength of a triphenylphosphonium ylidyl group (Ph3PCH–) was explored through its substitution onto a bispyridinylidene (BPY) scaffold. Electrochemical studies revealed that the new triphenylphosphonium ylidyl-substituted BPY is the most reducing di-substituted derivative reported to date (E1/2 = −1.55 V vs. SCE). By using a previously established correlation between the redox potential of the substituted BPYs and the corresponding substituent, a Hammett constant for the Ph3PCH– group was determined (σp+ = −2.33), establishing it as the most donating neutral substituent currently quantified. The BPY is readily oxidized by hexachloroethane to produce the corresponding dicationic bipyridinium salt as a mixture of isomers owing to hindered Cylidyl–Cpyridyl bond rotation. In preliminary tests of the BPY as a reductant, dichlorotricyclohexylphosphorane and chlorodiphenylphosphine were reduced to the corresponding phosphine and diphosphine, respectively.