A Stable Silicon(0) Compound with a Si=Si Double Bond

Science  22 Aug 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5892, pp. 1069-1071
DOI: 10.1126/science.1160768

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Dative, or nonoxidative, ligand coordination is common in transition metal complexes; however, this bonding motif is rare in compounds of main group elements in the formal oxidation state of zero. Here, we report that the potassium graphite reduction of the neutral hypervalent silicon-carbene complex L:SiCl4 {where L: is:C[N(2,6-Pri2-C6H3)CH]2 and Pri is isopropyl} produces L:(Cl)Si–Si(Cl):L, a carbene-stabilized bis-silylene, and L:Si=Si:L, a carbene-stabilized diatomic silicon molecule with the Si atoms in the formal oxidation state of zero. The Si-Si bond distance of 2.2294 ± 0.0011 (standard deviation) angstroms in L:Si=Si:L is consistent with a Si=Si double bond. Complementary computational studies confirm the nature of the bonding in L:(Cl)Si–Si(Cl):L and L:Si=Si:L.

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