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Studies focused on the dehydrogenation of amine-borane by diiron complexes that serve as well-characterized rudimentary models of the diiron subsite in [FeFe]-hydrogenase are reported. Complexes of formulation (-SCH2XCH2S)[Fe(CO)3]2, with X = CH2, CMe2, CEt2, NMe, NtBu, and NPh, 1-CO through 6-CO, respectively, were determined to be photocatalysts for release of H2 gas from a solution of H3B NHMe2 (B:A(s)), dissolved in THF. The thermal displacement of the tertiary amine-borane, H3B NEt3 (B:A(t)) from photochemically generated (-SCH2XCH2S)[Fe(CO)3][Fe(CO)2(-H)(BH2-NEt3)], 1-B:A(t) through 6-B:A(t), by P(OEt)3 was monitored by time-resolved FTIR spectroscopy. Rates and activation barriers for this substitution reaction were consistent with a dissociative mechanism for the alkylated bridgehead species 2-CO through 6-CO, and associative or interchange for 1-CO. DFT calculations supported an intermediate [I] for the dissociative process featuring a coordinatively unsaturated diiron complex stabilized by an agostic interaction between the metal center and the C-H bond of an alkyl group on the central bridgehead atom of the SRS linker. The rate of H2 production from the initially formed 1-B:A(s) through 6-B:A(s) complexes was inversely correlated with the lifetime of the analogous 1-B:A(t) through 6-B:A(t) adducts. Possible mechanisms are presented which feature involvement of the pendent nitrogen base as well as a separate mechanism for the all carbon bridgeheads.
author list (cited authors)
Lunsford, A. M., Blank, J. H., Moncho, S., Haas, S. C., Muhammad, S., Brothers, E. N., Darensbourg, M. Y., & Bengali, A. A.