A regioselectively 1, 1',3 ,3'-tetrazincated ferrocene complex displaying core and peripheral reactivity

Gordon W. Honeyman, David R. Armstrong, William Clegg, Eva Hevia, Alan R. Kennedy, Ross McLellan, Samantha A. Orr, John A. Parkinson, Donna L. Ramsay, Stuart D. Robertson, Stephen Towie, Robert E. Mulvey

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Regioselective 1,1′,3,3′-tetrazincation [C-H to C-Zn(tBu)] of ferrocene has been achieved by reaction of a fourfold excess of di-t-butylzinc (tBu2Zn) with sodium 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidide (NaTMP) in hexane solution manifested in the trimetallic iron-sodium-zinc complex [Na4(TMP)4Zn4(tBu)4{(C5H3)2Fe}], 1. X-ray crystallographic studies supported by DFT modelling reveal the structure to be an open inverse crown in which two [Na(TMP)Zn(tBu)Na(TMP)Zn(tBu)]2+ cationic units surround a {(C5H3)2Fe}4- tetraanion. Detailed C6D6 NMR studies have assigned the plethora of 1H and 13C chemical shifts of this complex. It exists in a major form in which capping and bridging TMP groups interchange, as well as a minor form that appears to be an intermediate in this complicated exchange phenomenon. Investigation of 1 has uncovered two distinct reactivities. Two of its peripheral t-butyl carbanions formally deprotonate toluene at the lateral methyl group to generate benzyl ligands that replace these carbanions in [Na4(TMP)4Zn4(tBu)2(CH2Ph)2{(C5H3)2Fe}], 2, which retains its tetrazincated ferrocenyl core. Benzyl-Na π-arene interactions are a notable feature of 2. In contrast, reaction with pyridine affords the crystalline product {[Na·4py][Zn(py∗)2(tBu)·py]}∞, 3, where py is neutral pyridine (C5H5N) and py∗ is the anion (4-C5H4N), a rare example of pyridine deprotonated/metallated at the 4-position. This ferrocene-free complex appears to be a product of core reactivity in that the core-positioned ferrocenyl anions of 1, in company with TMP anions, have formally deprotonated the heterocycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6510-6520
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Science
Issue number25
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2020


  • X-ray crystallographic studies
  • reactivities
  • ferrocene-free complex


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