AtomAccess: A predictive tool for molecular design and its application to the targeted synthesis of dysprosium single-molecule magnets

28 February 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Isolated dysprosocenium cations, [Dy(CpR)2]+ (CpR = substituted cyclopentadienyl), have recently been shown to exhibit superior single-molecule magnet (SMM) properties over closely related complexes with equatorially-bound ligands. However, gauging the crossover point at which the CpR substituents are large enough to prevent equatorial ligand binding, but small enough to approach the metal closely and generate strong crystal field splitting, has required laborious synthetic optimization. We therefore created the computer program, AtomAccess, to predict the accessibility of a metal binding site and its ability to accommodate additional ligands. Here we apply AtomAccess to rapidly screen a series of derivatized dysprosium metallocene fragments of varying steric bulk in silico, allowing us to identify the crossover point for equatorial coordination in [Dy(CpR)2]+ cations, and hence predict a cation that is at the cusp of stability without equatorial interactions, viz. [Dy(Cpttt)(Cp*)]+ (Cpttt = C5H2tBu3-1,2,4, Cp* = C5Me5). Upon synthesizing this cation we found it crystallizes as either a contact ion-pair, [Dy(Cpttt)(Cp*){Al[OC(CF3)3]4-k-F}], or separated ion-pair polymorph, [Dy(Cpttt)(Cp*)][Al{OC(CF3)3}4]C6H6. These complexes, together with their precursors and yttrium analogs, have been characterized by NMR and ATR-IR spectroscopy, elemental analysis, powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction, SQUID magnetometry and ab initio calculations. We find that the contact ion-pair shows inferior SMM properties to the separated ion-pair, as expected, due to faster Raman and quantum tunneling of magnetization relaxation processes. The experimental verification of the predicted crossover point for equatorial coordination in this work indicates that programs like AtomAccess have significant potential to boost efficiency in exploratory synthetic chemistry.


Single-Molecule Magnet

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Material
Supplementary Material for AtomAccess: A predictive tool for molecular design and its application to the targeted synthesis of dysprosium single-molecule magnets


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