Carbene Chemistry

Crystal structure of a rhodium carbene

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Science  27 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6264, pp. 1052-1053
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6264.1052-g

It often is challenging in chemistry to characterize highly reactive compounds. The trouble is that modifications that render them sufficiently stable to study detract from the very properties underlying the reactivity of interest. Werlé et al. now report success in the low-temperature preparation and isolation of crystals of a dirhodium carbene complex. They elucidated its structure by x-ray diffraction of the compound in the solid state, as well as by using several spectroscopic techniques in solution. Moreover, they confirmed that it indeed manifested the reactivity for which this class of compounds is prized: transfer of the divalent carbon to an olefin to form a cyclopropyl ring. They also observed facile transfer of the carbene from rhodium to gold.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 10.1002/anie.201506902 (2015).

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