Reversible Oxidative-Addition and Reductive-Elimination of Thiophene from a Titanium Complex and Its Thermally-Induced Hydrodesulfurization Chemistry

The masked Ti(II) synthon (Ketguan)(η6-ImDippN)Ti (1) oxidatively adds across thiophene to give ring-opened (Ketguan)(ImDippN)Ti[κ2-S(CH)3CH] (2). Complex 2 is photosensitive, and upon exposure to light, reductively eliminates thiophene to regenerate 1 – a rare example of early-metal mediated oxidative-addition/reductive-elimination chemistry. DFT calculations indicate strong titanium π-backdonation to the thiophene π*-orbitals leads to the observed thiophene ring opening across titanium, while a proposed photoinduced LMCT promotes the reverse thiophene elimination from 2. Finally, pressurizing solutions of 2 with H2 (150 psi) at 80 °C leads to the hydrodesulfurization of thiophene to give the Ti(IV) sulfide (Ketguan)(ImDippN)Ti(S) (3) and butane.