Systematic Investigation of the Molecular and Electronic Structure of Thorium and Uranium Phosphorus and Arsenic Complexes

Tarlton, Michael L. and Fajen, O. Jonathan and Kelley, Steven P. and Kerridge, Andrew and Malcomson, Thomas and Morrison, Thomas L. and Shores, Matthew P. and Xhani, Xhensila and Walensky, Justin R. (2021) Systematic Investigation of the Molecular and Electronic Structure of Thorium and Uranium Phosphorus and Arsenic Complexes. Inorganic Chemistry, 60 (14). pp. 10614-10630. ISSN 0020-1669

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In continuing to examine the interaction of actinide-ligand bonds with soft donor ligands, a comparative investigation with phosphorus and arsenic was conducted. A reaction of (C5Me5)2AnMe2, An = Th, U, with 2 equiv of H2AsMes, Mes = 2,4,6-Me3C6H2, forms the primary bis(arsenido) complexes (C5Me5)2An[As(H)Mes]2. Both exhibit thermal instability at room temperature, leading to the elimination of H2, and the formation of the diarsenido species, (C5Me5)2An(η2-As2Mes2). The analogous diphosphido complexes, (C5Me5)2An(η2-P2Mes2), could not be synthesized via the same route, even upon heating the bis(phosphido) species to 100 °C in toluene. However, they were accessible via the reaction of dimesityldiphosphane, MesP(H)P(H)Mes, with (C5Me5)2AnMe2 at 70 °C in toluene. When (C5Me5)2AnMe2 is reacted with 1 equiv of H2AsMes, the bridging μ2-arsinidiide complexes [(C5Me5)2An]2(μ2-AsMes)2 are formed. Upon reaction of (C5Me5)2UMe2 with 1 equiv of H2PMes, the phosphinidiide [(C5Me5)2U(μ2-PMes)]2 is isolated. However, the analogous thorium reaction leads to a phosphido and C−H bond activation of the methyl on the mesityl group, forming {(C5Me5)2Th[P(H)(2,4-Me2C6H2-6-CH2)]}2. The reactivity of [(C5Me5)2An(μ2-EMes)]2 was investigated with OPPh3 in an effort to produce terminal phosphinidene or arsinidene complexes. For E = As, An = U, a U(III) cation−anion pair [(C5Me5)2U(η2-As2Mes2)][(C5Me5)2U(OPPh3)2] is isolated. The reaction of [(C5Me5)2Th(μ2-AsMes)]2 with OPPh3 does not result in a terminal arsinidene but, instead, eliminates PPh3 to yield a bridging arsinidiide/oxo complex, [(C5Me5)2Th]2(μ2-AsMes)(μ2-O). Finally, the combination of [(C5Me5)2U(μ2-PMes)]2 and OPPh3 yields a terminal phosphinidene, (C5Me5)2U(PMes)(OPPh3), featuring a short U−P bond distance of 2.502(2) Å. Electrochemical measurements on the uranium pnictinidiide complexes demonstrate only a 0.04 V difference with phosphorus as a slightly better donor. Magnetic measurements on the uranium complexes show more excited-state mixing and therefore higher magnetic moments with the arsenic-containing compounds but no deviation from uncoupled U(IV) behavior. Finally, a quantum theory of atoms in molecules analysis shows highly polarized actinide-pnictogen bonds with similar bonding characteristics, supporting the electrochemical and magnetic measurements of similar bonding between actinide-phosphorus and actinide-arsenic bonds.

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Journal Article
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Inorganic Chemistry
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This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Inorganic Chemistry, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see
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19 Jul 2021 13:40
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 21:49