Nucleophilic or electrophilic phosphinidene complexes MLn=PH; what makes the difference?

Andreas W. Ehlers, Evert Jan Baerends, Koop Lammertsma

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113 Citations (Scopus)


Density functional studies, based on the local density approximation including nonlocal corrections for correlation and exchange self-consistently, have been carried out for the equilibrium structures of the phosphinidene transition metal complexes MLn=PH, with M = Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Nb, Ta, Cr, Mo, W, Fe, Ru, Os, Co, Rh, Ir and L = CO, PH3, Cp. The chemical reactivity of the transition metal-stabilized phosphinidene P-R is influenced by its spectator ligands L. Ligands with strong σ-donor capabilities on the metal increase the electron density on the phosphorus atom, raise the π*-orbital energy, and enhance its nucleophilicity. Spectator ligands with strong π-acceptor capabilities lower the charge concentration on P and stabilize the π-orbital, which results in a higher affinity for electron-rich species. The MLn=PH bond is investigated using a bond energy analysis in terms of electrostatic interaction, Pauli repulsion, and orbital interaction. A symmetry decomposition scheme affords a quantitative estimate of the σ- and π-bond strengths. It is shown that the investigated phosphinidenes are strong π-acceptors and even stronger σ-donors. The metal-phosphinidene interaction increases on going from the first to the second- and third-row transition metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2831-2838
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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