A solid picture of rhodium carbenes

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Science  08 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6282, pp. 184-185
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6282.184-e

Students of organic chemistry learn early that carbon tends to engage four of its electrons in bonding. It is possible, nonetheless, to prepare carbenes—carbon centers with a pair of unbonded electrons—and to use metal coordination to help productively direct their high reactivity. Rhodium-coordinated carbenes have emerged as some of the most useful variety, and Werlé et al. now report crystal structures of several of them. Specifically, the authors characterized so-called “push-pull” varieties, in which the carbon bears an electron-donating and an electron-withdrawing substituent, at both Rh(II) and Rh(III) centers. The results support the currently favored model accounting for their stereochemical selectivity in reaction with C=C double bonds.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/jacs.5b13321 (2016).

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