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Studies of low oxidation state group 14 complexes and their reactivity towards small molecules

posted on 14.02.2017, 03:29 by Li, Jiaye
This thesis concerns research into the synthesis of low oxidation state group 14 complexes and their reactivity towards small molecule activation. A number of group 14 complexes in the +1 or +2 oxidation states have been synthesized. These include the first singly-bonded amido germanium(I) complex (amido-digermyne, [LGeGeL], L = {N(MeAr)(SiMe3)}, MeAr = C6H2{C(H)Ph2}2Me-2,6,4), amido group 14 metal(II) halide complexes, e.g. [LECl] (E = Ge, Sn or Pb, SiR3 = SiMe3, SiPh2Me or SiPh3), and amido silicon(IV) halide complexes, e.g. [LSiX3] (X = Cl or Br). The reactivity of the amido digermyne towards a variety of small molecules, e.g. H2, CO2, N2O, CS2, alkynes, etc., has been examined. In addition, the synthesis of “one-coordinate” group 14 metal(II) monocationic complexes (e.g. [LE]+[PF]-, E = Ge or Sn, PF = [Al{OC(CF3)3}4]- ) has been investigated and their reactivity towards Lewis base molecules has been examined. Work included in this thesis can be divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 introduces recent developments in main group chemistry, bonding in low oxidation state main group compounds, kinetic stabilization, and the “inert pair” effect. Some examples of low oxidation state main group complexes are described. Chapter 2 introduces the synthesis and coordination chemistry of a series of bulky secondary amines, [(MeAr)(SiR3)NH], [(iPrAr)(SiMe3)NH] (iPrAr = C6H2{C(H)Ph2}2iPr-2,6,4) and [(tBuAr)(SiR3)NH] (tBuAr = C6H2{C(H)Ph2}2tBu-2,6,4). Subsequently, the chapter discusses the synthesis of amido group 14 metal(II) halide complexes, e.g. [LECl] (E = Ge, Sn or Pb; SiR3 = SiMe3, SiPh2Me or SiPh3), [{(iPrAr)(SiMe3)N}ECl] (E = Ge or Sn) and {(tBuAr)(SiMe3)N}GeCl. The structures of these complexes have been determined using X-ray crystallography. Furthermore, amido silicon(IV) halide complexes, [LSiX3] (SiR3 = SiMe3, SiPh2Me or SiPh3; X = Cl or Br) and [{(iPrAr)(SiR3)N}SiBr3], as well as an amido silicon hydride, [LSi(H)Cl2] have been synthesized and structurally investigated. Chapter 3 discusses the synthesis and structural characterization of the first singly-bonded amido-digermyne, [LGeGeL], and its reactivity towards small gas molecule activation, e.g. that of H2, CO2, N2O, etc. at ambient and low temperatures. These reactions produced bulky amido germanium(II) and germanium(III) hydride complexes, and a bis(germylene) oxide complex. Further efforts have been devoted to the reactivity of [LGeGeL] towards molecules such as CS2, tBuNC and tBuNCO. Chapter 4 expands on the reactivity of [LGeGeL] and [L#GeGeL#] (L# = (iPrAr)(SiiPr3)N). It describes reactions that have been carried out with organic molecules, e.g. cyclooctatetraene (COT), 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP), azobenzene, 1,4-bis(trimethylsilyl)butadiyne, norbornadiene, etc. These reactions produced a number of low oxidation state germanium complexes. In general, the reactions of [LGeGeL] and [L#GeGeL#] with unsaturated molecules produced products with the substrate inserted into the Ge-Ge bond. However, the reaction with DMAP produced a bis-adducted germanium complex with a shortened Ge-Ge bond. Finally, reactions of [LGeGeL] with chlorinated compounds, iodine, and ketones are discussed. Chapter 5 summarizes investigations into the synthesis and coordination chemistry of the first examples of bulky amido “one-coordinate” germanium(II) and tin(II) monocationic complexes, [LE]+[PF]- (E = Ge or Sn, PF = [Al{OC(CF3)3}4]-) and [L'Sn]+[PF]- (L' = [(MeAr)(SiPh2Me)N]). Their reactivity towards DMAP was investigated, and this led to two-coordinate adducted germanium or tin cationic complexes. Chapter 6 summarizes miscellaneous results, and consists of two sections. The first section discusses theoretical investigations into the Mo-Ge bonding of singly-bonded or triply-bonded molybdenum germylene and germylyne complexes. Wiberg bond indices (WBI) were acquired to provide a quantitative description of the bonding in these complexes. The second section focuses on investigations into the synthesis of a bulky gallium(I) amide complex, [LGa:], which was prepared from the reaction of [{(MeAr)(SiMe3)N}Li] and “GaI”. X-ray crystallographic studies of [LGa:] were carried out and indicate that the complex is essentially one-coordinate.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Cameron Jones

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Science