The Fate of NHC-Stabilized Dicarbon Academic Article uri icon


  • The attempted synthesis of NHC-stabilized dicarbon (NHC=C=C=NHC) through deprotonation of a doubly protonated precursor ([NHC-CH=CH-NHC](2+) ) is reported. Rather than deprotonation, a clean reduction to NHC=CH-CH=NHC is observed with a variety of bases. The apparent resistance towards deprotonation to the target compound led to a reinvestigation of the electronic structure of NHC→CC←NHC, which showed that the highest occupied molecular orbital/lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (HOMO/LUMO) gap is likely too small to allow for isolation of this species. This is in contrast to the recent isolation of the cyclic alkylaminocarbene analogue (cAAC=C=C=cAAC), which has a large HOMO-LUMO gap. A detailed theoretical study illuminates the differences in electronic structures between these molecules, highlighting another case of the potential advantages of using cAAC rather than NHC as a ligand. The bonding analysis suggests that the dicarbon compounds are well represented in terms of donor-acceptor interactions L→C2 ←L (L=NHC, cAAC).

publication date

  • 2015