Reaction discovery with pincer complexes
Oleg V. Ozerov
Texas A&M University
The name “pincer” has become reserved for tridentate chelating ligands that bind to a metal center in a meridional (T-shaped) fashion. They are typically denoted by the three donor atoms attached to the metal. Our group has devoted considerable attention to the chemistry of the T-shaped three-coordinate pincer-ligated fragments of group 9 metals (Co, Rh, or Ir). These are highly unsaturated species that cannot be isolated in their free form, but can be generated in solution. They display remarkable propensity for insertion into various X-Y bonds in oxidative addition reactions. The presentation will describe the various oxidative addition reactions of aryl halides and pseudohalides, and show how the study of these reactions can lead to discovery of new catalytic transformations. The emphasis will be on how molecular design, elementary reaction discovery, and development of effective new catalysts are intricately but not always obviously related.