Proton reduction by phosphinidene-capped triiron clusters

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title = "Proton reduction by phosphinidene-capped triiron clusters",
abstract = "Bis(phosphinidene)-capped triiron carbonyl clusters, including electron rich derivatives formed by substitution with chelating diphosphines, have been prepared and examined as proton reduction catalysts. Treatment of the known cluster [Fe3(CO)9(µ3-PPh)2] (1) with various diphosphines in refluxing THF (for 5, refluxing toluene) afforded the new clusters [Fe3(CO)7(µ3-PPh)2(κ2-dppb)] (2), [Fe3(CO)7(µ3-PPh)2(κ2-dppv)] (3), [Fe3(CO)7(µ3-PPh)2(κ2-dppe)] (4) and [Fe3(CO)7(µ3-PPh)2(µ-κ2-dppf)] (5) in moderate yields, together with small amounts of the corresponding [Fe3(CO)8(µ3-PPh)2(κ1-Ph2PxPPh2)] cluster (x = -C4H6-, -C2H2-, -C2H4-, -C3H6-, -C5H4FeC5H4-). The molecular structures of complexes 3 and 5 have been established by X-ray crystallography. Complexes 1–5 have been examined as proton reduction catalysts in the presence of p-toluenesulfonic acid (p-TsOH) in CH2Cl2. Cluster 1 exhibits two one-electron quasi-reversible reduction waves at –1.39 V (ΔE = 195 mV) and at –1.66 V (ΔE = 168 mV; potentials vs. Fc+/Fc). Upon addition of p-TsOH the unsubstituted cluster 1 shows a first catalytic wave at –1.57 V and two further proton reduction processes at –1.75 and –2.29 V, each with a good current response. The diphosphine-substituted derivatives of 1 are reduced at more negative potentials than the parent cluster 1. Clusters 2–4 each exhibit an oxidation at ca. +0.1 V and a reduction at ca. –1.6 V; for 4 conversion to a redox active successor species is seen upon both oxidation and reduction. Clusters 2–4 show catalytic waves in the presence of p-TsOH, with cluster 4 exhibiting the highest relative catalytic current (icat/i0 ≈ 57) in the presence of acid, albeit at a new third reduction process not observed for 2 and 3. Addition of the dppf ligand to the parent diphosphinidene cluster 1 gave cluster 5 which exhibited a single reduction process at –1.95 V and three oxidation processes, all at positive values as compared to 2–4. Cluster 5 showed only weak catalytic activity for proton reduction with p-TsOH. The bonding in 4 was investigated by DFT calculations, and the nature of the radical anion and dianion is discussed with respect to the electrochemical data.",
keywords = "DFT, Electrocatalysis, Phosphinidine, Proton reduction, Triiron",
author = "Ahibur Rahaman and Lisensky, {George C.} and Matti Haukka and Tocher, {Derek A.} and Richmond, {Michael G.} and Colbran, {Stephen B.} and Ebbe Nordlander",
year = "2021",
month = jun,
day = "21",
doi = "10.1016/j.jorganchem.2021.121816",
language = "English",
volume = "943",
journal = "Journal of Organometallic Chemistry",
issn = "0022-328X",
publisher = "Elsevier",