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Department of Chemistry

Research Highlight

Highly Reactive Dicarbon as a Flexible Ligand for Transition-Metal Catalysis

  • The full article entitled “Reactive Dicarbon as a Flexible Ligand for Transition-Metal Coordination and Catalysis” can be found at the Journal of the American Chemical Society website at
  • Authors: Ming-Chun Wu, Yu-Fu Liang, Titel Jurca, Glenn P. A. Yap, Tsz-Fai Leung*, Tiow-Gan Ong* 

Dicarbon is a reactive carbon allotrope that naturally exists only in the high-temperature medium of stellar space. The research team of Tiow-Gan Ong, an adjunct faculty of Department of Chemistry, NTU, reports the successful preparation of a series of bottleable phosphine-stabilized dicarbon (PDC) molecules. They explore the use of these molecules as a new complementary class of carbenelike ligands featuring strong σ-donor (>NHCs and CAAcs) but weak π-acceptor properties. Steric map analysis of PDC based on Cavallo’s SambVca program reveals comparable steric volume bulk of 32.5%, similar to the conventional IMes carbene. However, these PDCs exhibit dynamic steric flexibility modulated by the nature of the metal complexes and catalytic reaction environment. The research team of Professor Ong demonstrates the catalytic utility of the PDC framework by its successful implementation for Suzuki−Miyaura cross-coupling and the reductive coupling reaction of an aldehyde and alkyne. Detailed investigations of the reductive coupling reaction reveal an important secondary interaction between PDC and metal complexes, which plays a critical role in the catalytic system.

Art editor Img

Figure 1. (a) Previous Synthetic Works on Dicarbon. (b) Single Phosphine-Stabilized Dicarbon (PDC). (c) Current Work Showcasing Phosphine-Stabilized Dicarbon as a Ligand for a Transition-Metal-Mediated Catalytic Reaction.