Intramolecular gas-phase reactions of synthetic nonheme oxoiron(IV) ions: Proximity and spin-state reactivity rules

Rubén Mas-Ballesté, Aidan R. McDonald, Dana Reed, Dandamudi Usharani, Patric Schyman, Petr Milko, Sason Shaik, Lawrence Que

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The intramolecular gas-phase reactivity of four oxoiron(IV) complexes supported by tetradentate N4 ligands (L) has been studied by means of tandem mass spectrometry measurements in which the gas-phase ions [Fe IV(O)(L)(OTf)]+ (OTf=trifluoromethanesulfonate) and [FeIV(O)(L)]2+ were isolated and then allowed to fragment by collision-induced decay (CID). CID fragmentation of cations derived from oxoiron(IV) complexes of 1,4,8,11-tetramethyl-1,4,8,11-tetraazacyclotetradecane (tmc) and N,N'-bis(2-pyridylmethyl)-1,5-diazacyclooctane (L8Py 2) afforded the same predominant products irrespective of whether they were hexacoordinate or pentacoordinate. These products resulted from the loss of water by dehydrogenation of ethylene or propylene linkers on the tetradentate ligand. In contrast, CID fragmentation of ions derived from oxoiron(IV) complexes of linear tetradentate ligands N,N'-bis(2-pyridylmethyl)- 1,2-diaminoethane (bpmen) and N,N'-bis(2-pyridylmethyl)-1,3-diaminopropane (bpmpn) showed predominant oxidative N-dealkylation for the hexacoordinate [FeIV(O)(L)(OTf)]+ cations and predominant dehydrogenation of the diaminoethane/propane backbone for the pentacoordinate [Fe IV(O)(L)]2+ cations. DFT calculations on [Fe IV(O)(bpmen)] ions showed that the experimentally observed preference for oxidative N-dealkylation versus dehydrogenation of the diaminoethane linker for the hexa- and pentacoordinate ions, respectively, is dictated by the proximity of the target C-H bond to the oxoiron(IV) moiety and the reactive spin state. Therefore, there must be a difference in ligand topology between the two ions. More importantly, despite the constraints on the geometries of the TS that prohibit the usual upright σ trajectory and prevent optimal σCH-σ* z 2 overlap, all the reactions still proceed preferentially on the quintet (S=2) state surface, which increases the number of exchange interactions in the d block of iron and leads thereby to exchange enhanced reactivity (EER). As such, EER is responsible for the dominance of the S=2 reactions for both hexa- and pentacoordinate complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11747-11760
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 10 2012


  • bioinorganic chemistry
  • density functional calculations
  • exchange enhanced reactivity
  • hydrogen transfer
  • oxoiron complexes


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