A dicobalt(II) complex, [Co2(mBDCA-5t)]2- (1), demonstrates a cofacial arrangement of trigonal monopyramidal Co(II) ions with an inter-metal separation of 6.2710(6) Å. Reaction of 1 with potassium superoxide generates an encapsulated Co-O-Co core in the dianionic complex, [Co2O(mBDCA-5t)]2- (2); to form the linear Co-O-Co core, the inter-metal distance has diminished to 3.994(3) Å. Co K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy data are consistent with a +2 oxidation state assignment for Co in both 1 and 2. Multireference complete active space calculations followed by second-order perturbation theory support this assignment, with hole equivalents residing on the bridging O-atom and on the cryptand ligand for the case of 2. Complex 2 acts as a 2-e- oxidant toward substrates including CO and H2, in both cases efficiently regenerating 1 in what represent net oxygen-atom-transfer reactions. This dicobalt system also functions as a catalase upon treatment with H2O2.
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