A mechanistically and operationally simple route to metal-N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) Complexes

Steven P. Nolan*, Nikolaos Tzouras, Fady Nahra, Laura Falivene, Luigi Cavallo, Marina Saab, Kristof Van Hecke, Alba Collado, Christopher Collett, Andrew David Smith, Catherine S.J. Cazin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
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We have been puzzled by the involvement of weak organic and inorganic bases in the synthesis of metal‐N‐heterocyclic carbene (NHC) complexes. Such bases are insufficiently strong to permit the presumed required deprotonation of the azolium salt (the carbene precursor) prior to metal binding. Experimental and computational studies provide support for a base‐assisted concerted process that does not require free NHC formation. The synthetic protocol was found applicable to a number of Transition Metal‐ and Main Group‐centered NHC compounds and could become the synthetic route of choice to form M‐NHC bonds.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
VolumeEarly View
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2020


  • N-Heterocyclic carbene
  • Synthesis
  • Weak base
  • Mechanism
  • Complexes


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