Building complexity in O2-binding copper complexes: site-selective metalation and intermolecular O2-binding at dicopper and heterometallic complexes derived from an unsymmetric ligand

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A novel unsymmetric dinucleating ligand (LN3N4) combining a tridentate and a tetradentate binding sites linked through a m-xylyl spacer was synthesized as ligand scaffold for preparing homo- and dimetallic complexes, where the two metal ions are bound in two different coordination environments. Site-selective binding of different metal ions is demonstrated. LN3N4 is able to discriminate between CuI and a complementary metal (M′ = CuI, ZnII, FeII, CuII, or GaIII) so that pure heterodimetallic complexes with a general formula [CuIM′(LN3N4)]n+ are synthesized. Reaction of the dicopper(I) complex [CuI 2(LN3N4)]2+ with O2 leads to the formation of two different copper-dioxygen (Cu2O2) intermolecular species (O and TP) between two copper atoms located in the same site from different complex molecules. Taking advantage of this feature, reaction of the heterodimetallic complexes [CuM′(LN3N4)]n+ with O2 at low temperature is used as a tool to determine the final position of the CuI center in the system because only one of the two Cu2O2 species is formed ​
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