Reshaping aromatic frameworks: expansion of aromatic system drives metallabenzenoids to metallapentalenes†
Reshaping an aromatic framework to generate other skeletons is a challenging issue due to the stabilization energy of aromaticity. Such reconfigurations of aromatics commonly generate non-aromatic products and hardly ever reshape to a different aromatic framework. Herein, we present the transformation of metallaindenols to metallapentalenes and metallaindenes in divergent pathways, converting one aromatic framework to another with an extension of the conjugation framework. The mechanistic study of this transformation shows that phosphorus ligands play different roles in the divergent processes. Further theoretical studies indicate that the expansion of the aromatic system is the driving force promoting this skeletal rearrangement. Our findings offer a new concept and strategy to reshape and construct aromatic compounds.