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Do Sitting-Atop Metalloporphyrin Complexes Exist? Observation of N−H- - -π Bonding in Arene Solvates of a Diprotonated Porphyrin Dication

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The existence of sitting-atop metalloporphyrin complexes, the proposed intermediates in the metalation of free-base porphyrins, has been explored via the microscopic reverse reaction, i.e., protonation of metalloporphyrins with a strong acid. The reaction of M(Tp-TP) (M = Zn, Cu, Ni; Tp-TP = dianion of tetra-p-tolylporphyrin) with mesitylenium carborane salts produced only the demetalated porphyrin in its diprotonated form, [H4Tp-TP][carborane]2 (carborane = CHB11H5Cl6-, CHB11H5Br6-, CHB11Cl11-). In arene solvents, the H4Tp-TP2+ dication shows an unusually upfield shifted 1H NMR resonance at ca. -6 ppm, which X-ray crystallography reveals to arise from N-H- - -pi hydrogen bonding of the acidic protons to arene solvent molecules.

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