Understanding Pd-Pd bond length variation in (PNP)Pd-Pd(PNP) dimers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Analysis of the structures of three (PNP)Pd-Pd(PNP) dimers [where PNP stands for anionic diarylamido/bis(phosphine) pincer ligands] has been carried out with the help of single-crystal X-ray diffractometry and density functional theory (DFT) calculations on isolated molecules. The three dimers under study possess analogous ancillary ligands; two of them differ only by an F versus Me substituent in a remote (five bonds away from Pd) position of the pincer ligand. Despite these close similarities, X-ray structural determinations revealed two distinct structural motifs: a highly symmetric molecule with a long Pd-Pd bond or a highly distorted molecule with Pd-Pd bonds ca. 0.14 shorter. DFT calculations on a series of (PNP)Pd-Pd(PNP) dimers (as molecules in the gas phase) confirmed the existence of these distinct minima for dimers carrying large isopropyl substituents on the P-donor atoms (as in the experimental structure). These minima are nearly isoergic conformers. Evidently, the electronically preferred symmetric structure for the dimer (with a square-planar environment about Pd and a linear N-Pd-Pd-N vector) is not sterically possible with the preferred Pd-Pd distance. Thus, the minima correspond to either a symmetric structure with a long Pd-Pd bond distance or a structure with a short Pd-Pd distance but with substantial distortions in the Pd coordination environment to alleviate steric conflict. This notion is supported by finding only a single minimum (symmetric and with short Pd-Pd bonds) for each of the dimers carrying smaller substituents (H or Me) on the P atoms, regardless of the remote substitution.

published proceedings

  • Inorg Chem

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Walensky, J. R., Fafard, C. M., Guo, C., Brammell, C. M., Foxman, B. M., Hall, M. B., & Ozerov, O. V.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Walensky, Justin R||Fafard, Claudia M||Guo, Chengyun||Brammell, Christina M||Foxman, Bruce M||Hall, Michael B||Ozerov, Oleg V

publication date

  • March 2013