Iron Complexes of a Proton-Responsive SCS Pincer Ligand with Sensitive Electronic Structure

02 November 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


SCS pincer ligands have an interesting combination of strong-field and weak-field donors that is also present in the nitrogenase active site. Here, we explore the electronic structures of iron(II) and iron(III) complexes with such a pincer ligand, bearing a monodentate phosphine, thiolate S donor, amide N donor, ammonia, or CO. The ligand scaffold features a protonresponsive thioamide site, and the protonation state of the ligand greatly influences the reduction potential of iron in the phosphine complex. The N–H bond dissociation free energy can be quantitated as 56 ± 2 kcal/mol. EPR spectroscopy and SQUID magnetometry measurements show that the iron(III) complexes with S and N as the fourth donors have an intermediate spin (S = 3/2) ground state with large zero field splitting, and X-ray absorption spectra show high Fe–S covalency. The Mössbauer spectrum changes drastically with the position of a nearby alkali metal cation in the iron(III) amido complex, and DFT calculations explain this phenomenon through a change between having the doubly-occupied orbital as dz2 or dyz, as the former is more influenced by the nearby positive charge.


pincer ligand
bond energy

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Experimental Details and Characterization


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