Developing a hetero-alkali-metal chemistry of 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidide (TMP): stoichiometric and structural diversity within a series of lithium/sodium, lithium/potassium and sodium/potassium TMP compounds

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Studied extensively in solution and in the solid state, Li(TMP) (TMP=2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidide) is an important utility reagent popular as a strongly basic, weakly nucleophilic tool for C-H metallation. Recently, there has been a surge in interest in mixed metal derivatives containing the bulky TMP anion. Herein, we start to develop hetero (alkali metal) TMP chemistry by reporting the N,N,N',N'-tetramethylethylenediamine (TMEDA)-hemisolvated sodium-lithium cycloheterodimer [(tmeda)Na(mu-tmp)(2)Li], and its TMEDA-free variant [{Na(mu-tmp) Li(mu-tmp)}infinity], which provides a rare example of a crystallographically authenticated polymeric alkali metal amide. Experimental observations suggest that the former is a kinetic intermediate en route to the latter thermodynamic product. Furthermore, a third modification, the mixed potassium-lithium-rich cycloheterotrimer [(tmeda) K(mu-tmp) Li(mu-tmp) Li( mu-tmp)], has also been synthesised and crystallographically characterised. On moving to the bulkier tridentate donor N,N,N',N '',N ''-pentamethyldiethylenediamine (PMDETA), the additional ligation forces the sodium-lithium and potassium-dilithium ring species to open giving the acyclic arc-shaped complexes [(pmdeta)Na(mu-tmp)Li(tmp)] and [(pmdeta)K(mu-tmp)Li(mu-tmp)Li(tmp)], respectively. Completing the series, the potassium-lithium and potassium-sodium derivatives [(pmdeta)K(mu-tmp)(2)M] (M=Li, Na) have also been isolated as closed structures with a distinctly asymmetric central MN2K ring. Collectively, these seven new bimetallic compounds display five distinct structural motifs, four of which have never hitherto been witnessed in TMP chemistry and three of which are unprecedented in the vast structural library of alkali metal amide chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8820-8831
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • aggregation
  • alkali metals
  • amides
  • heterometallic complexes
  • X-ray diffraction
  • directed ortho-metalation
  • crystal structures
  • tert-butoxides
  • amide bases
  • open dimers
  • basis sets
  • reactivity

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