In this work, two pathways of reactivity are investigated to generate site-specific substitutions at the B7 vertex of the luminescent boron cluster, anti-B18H22. First, a palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction utilizing the precursor 7-I-B18H21 and a series of model nucleophiles was developed, ultimately producing several B-N and B-O substituted species. Interestingly, the B-I bond in this cluster can also be substituted in an uncatalyzed fashion, leading to the formation of various B-N, B-O, and B-S products. This work highlights intricate differences corresponding to these two reaction pathways and analyzes the role of solvents and additives on the product distributions. As a result of our synthetic studies, seven new B18-based clusters were synthesized, isolated, and characterized by mass spectrometry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The photoluminescent properties of two structurally similar ether and thioether products were further investigated, with both exhibiting blue fluorescence in solution at 298 K and long-lived green or yellow phosphorescence at 77 K. Overall, this work shows for the first time the ability to perform substitution of a boron-halogen bond with nucleophiles in a B18-based cluster, resulting in the formation of photoluminescent molecules.
Metal-Catalyzed and Metal-Free Nucleophilic Substitution of 7-I-B18H21