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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structure and Reactivity of a High-Spin, Nonheme Iron(III)- Superoxo Complex Supported by Phosphinimide Ligands.


Nonheme iron oxygenases utilize dioxygen to accomplish challenging chemical oxidations. A further understanding of the Fe-O2 intermediates implicated in these processes is challenged by their highly transient nature. To that end, we have developed a ligand platform featuring phosphinimide donors intended to stabilize oxidized, high-spin iron complexes. O2 exposure of single crystals of a three-coordinate Fe(II) complex of this framework allowed for in crystallo trapping of a terminally bound Fe-O2 complex suitable for XRD characterization. Spectroscopic and computational studies of this species support a high-spin Fe(III) center antiferromagnetically coupled to a superoxide ligand, similar to that proposed for numerous nonheme iron oxygenases. In addition to the apparent stability of this synthetic Fe-O2 complex, its ability to engage in a range of stoichiometric and catalytic oxidation processes demonstrates that this iron-phosphinimide system is primed for development in modeling oxidizing bioinorganic intermediates and green oxidation chemistry.

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