The complexes [M(κ3N,H,H-mapyBH3)(cod)] (M = Rh, Ir; HmapyBH3 = 2-(methylamino)pyridine–borane; cod = 1,5-cyclooctadiene), which contain a novel anionic tripod ligand coordinated to the metal atom through the amido N atom and through two H atoms of the BH3 group, have been prepared by treating the corresponding [M2(μ-Cl)2(cod)2] (M = Rh, Ir) precursor with K[mapyBH3]. X-ray diffraction studies and a theoretical QTAIM analysis of their electron density have confirmed that the metal atoms of both complexes are in a very distorted trigonal bipyramidal coordination environment, in which two equatorial sites are asymmetrically spanned by the H–B–H fragment. While both 3c–2e BH–M interactions are more κ1H (terminal sigma coordination of the B–H bond) than κ2H,B (agostic-type coordination of the B–H bond), one BH–M interaction is more agostic than the other and this difference is more marked in the iridium complex than in the rhodium one. This asymmetry is not evident in solution, where the cod ligand and the BH3 group of these molecules participate in two concurrent dynamic processes of low activation energies (VT-NMR and DFT studies), namely, a rotation of the cod ligand that interchanges its two alkene fragments (through a square pyramidal transition state) and a rotation of the BH3 group about the B–N bond that equilibrates the three B–H bonds (through a square planar transition state). While the cod rotation has similar activation energy in 2 and 3, the barrier to the BH3 group rotation is higher in the iridium complex than in the rhodium one.
- iridium complex
- rhodium complex
- anionic tripod ligand
- trigonal bipyramidal coordination environment
- cod ligand
- borane-metal interactions
- asymmetric chelating coordination