Metal/Ligand Proton Tautomerism Facilitates Dinuclear H2Reductive Elimination

Jonathan L. Kuo, Karen I. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Using the doubly protic bis-pyrazole-pyridine ligand (N(NNH)2), we have synthesized an octahedral IrIII-H [HIr(κ3-N(NNH)(NN-))(CO)(tBuPy)]+ ([1-MH]+) from an IrI starting material. This hydride was generated by adding sufficient electron density to the metal center such that it became the thermodynamically preferred site of protonation. It was observed via UV-vis spectroscopy that [1-MH]+ establishes a [tBuPy] dependent equilibrium with a ligand protonated square-planar IrI [Ir(N(NNH)2)(CO)]+ ([2-LH]+). This example of metal/ligand proton tautomerism is unusual in that the position of the equilibrium can be controlled by the concentration of exogeneous ligand (i.e., tBuPy). This equilibrium was shown to be key to the reactivity of the IrIII-H; 2 equiv of [1-MH]+ release H2, converting to the IrII dimer [[Ir(N(NN-)(NNH))(CO)(tBuPy)]2]2+ ([7]2+) under mild conditions (observable at room temperature). Mechanistic evidence is presented to support that this dinuclear reductive elimination occurs by tautomerization of the metal hydride [1-MH]+ to a ligand protonated species [1-LH]+, from which ligand dissociation is facile, generating [2-LH]+. Subsequent reaction of [2-LH]+ with [1-MH]+ allows for production of H2 and the IrII dimer [7]2+. The tautomerization between the metal-hydride and the ligand protonated species provides a low energy pathway for ligand dissociation, opening the needed coordination site. The ability to control the interconversion between a metal-hydride and a ligand-protonated congener using an exogeneous ligand introduces a new strategy for catalyst design with proton responsive ligands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21439-21449
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 23 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Metal/Ligand Proton Tautomerism Facilitates Dinuclear H2Reductive Elimination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this