A Glimpse at the Chemistry of GeH2 in Solution. Direct Detection of an Intramolecular Germylene–Alkene π-Complex Academic Article uri icon

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  • The photochemistry of 3-methyl-4-phenyl-1-germacyclopent-3-ene (4) and a deuterium-labeled derivative (4-d(2)) has been studied in solution by steady state and laser flash photolysis methods, with the goal of detecting the parent germylene (GeH(2)) directly and studying its reactivity in solution. Photolysis of 4 in C(6)D(12) containing acetic acid (AcOH) or methanol (MeOH) affords 2-methyl-3-phenyl-1,3-butadiene (6) and the O-H insertion products ROGeH(3) (R = Me or Ac) in yields of ca. 60% and 15-30%, respectively, along with numerous minor products which the deuterium-labeling studies suggest are mainly derived from hydrogermylation processes involving GeH(2) and diene 6. The reaction with AcOH also affords H(2) in ca. 20% yield, while HD is obtained from 4-d(2) under similar conditions. Photolysis of 4 in THF-d(8) containing AcOH affords AcOGeH(3) and 6 exclusively, indicating that the nucleophilic solvent assists the extrusion of GeH(2) from 4 and alters the mechanism of the trapping reaction with AcOH compared to that in cyclohexane. Laser flash photolysis of 4 in hexanes yields a promptly formed transient exhibiting λ(max) ≈ 460 nm, which decays on the microsecond time scale with the concomitant growth of a second, much longer-lived transient exhibiting λ(max) ≈ 390 nm. The spectrum and reactivity of the 460 nm species toward various germylene trapping agents are inconsistent with those expected for free GeH(2); rather, the transient is assigned to an intramolecular Ge(II)-alkene π-complex of one of the isomeric substituted hydridogermylenes derived from a solvent-cage reaction between GeH(2) and its diene (6) coproduct, formed by addition of HGe-H across one of the C=C bonds. These conclusions are supported by the results of DFT calculations of the thermochemistry associated with π-complexation of GeH(2) with 6 and the formation of the isomeric vinylgermiranes and 1,2-hydrogermylation products. A different species is observed upon laser photolysis of 4 in THF solution and is assigned to the GeH(2)-THF complex on the basis of its UV-vis spectrum and rate constants for its reaction with AcOH and AcOD.


  • Billone, Paul S
  • Beleznay, Katie
  • Harrington, Cameron R
  • Huck, Lawrence A
  • Leigh, William

publication date

  • July 13, 2011