Bis(pentafluorophenyl)phenothiazylborane – A Pseudo Frustrated Radical Pair for the Catalytic Dehydrocoupling of Stannanes

The understanding of the mechanism by which frustrated Lewis pairs activate small molecules has been evolving with the discovery that both heterolytic and homolytic bond activation is possible. Herein we characterized a novel Lewis acidic aminoborane containing a phenothiazyl substituent and demonstrate its potential to catalytically promote the dehydrocoupling of tin hydrides. The reactivity observed implies this species promotes homolytic bond activation, however computational analysis suggests a heterolytic mechanism for this reaction. This result represents the first frustrated Lewis pair system to blur the lines between heterolytic and homolytic reactivity.