Transition metal-oxo complexes are key intermediates in a variety of oxidative transformations, notably C–H bond activation. The rela-tive rate of C–H bond activation mediated by transition metal-oxo complexes is typically predicated on substrate bond dissociation free energy in cases with a concerted proton-electron transfer (CPET). However, recent work has demonstrated that alternative stepwise thermodynamic contributions such as acidity/basicity or redox po-tentials of the substrate/metal-oxo may dominate in some cases. In this context we have found basicity-governed concerted activation of C–H bonds with the terminal CoIII-oxo complex PhB(tBuIm)CoIIIO. We have been interested in testing the limits of such basicity-dependent reactivity and have synthesized an analo-gous, more basic complex, PhB(AdIm)CoIIIO, and studied its reactiv-ity with H-atom donors. This complex displays a higher degree of imbalanced CPET reactivity than PhB(tBuIm)CoIIIO with C–H substrates and O–H activation of phenol substrates displays mechanistic crossover to stepwise PTET reactivity. Analysis of the thermodynamics of PT and ET reveal a distinct thermodynamic crossing point between concerted and stepwise reactivity. Further-more, the relative rates of stepwise and concerted reactivity suggest that maximally imbalanced systems provide the fastest CPET rates up to the point of mechanistic crossover which results in slower prod-uct formation.
Additional Spectra and Data