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The molecular structure of tetra-tert-butyldiphosphine: an extremely distorted, sterically crowded molecule

Hinchley, S.L. and Robertson, H.E. and Borisenko, K.B. and Turner, A.R. and Johnston, B. and Rankin, D.W.H. and Ahmadian, M. and Jonesc, J.N. and Cowley, A.H. (2004) The molecular structure of tetra-tert-butyldiphosphine: an extremely distorted, sterically crowded molecule. Dalton Transactions, 16. pp. 2469-2476. ISSN 1472-7773

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Abstract

The molecular structure of tetra-tert-butyldiphosphine has been determined in the gas phase by electron diffraction using the new DYNAMITE method and in the crystalline phase by X-ray diffraction. Ab initio methods were employed to gain a greater understanding of the structural preferences of this molecule in the gas phase, and to determine the intrinsic P–P bond energy, using recently described methods. Although the P–P bond is relatively long [GED 226.4(8) pm; X-ray 223.4(1) pm] and the dissociation energy is computed to be correspondingly small (150.6 kJ mol−1), the intrinsic energy of this bond (258.2 kJ mol−1) is normal for a diphosphine. The gaseous data were refined using the new Edinburgh structure refinement program ed@ed, which is described in detail. The molecular structure of gaseous P2But4 is compared to that of the isoelectronic 1,1,2,2-tetra-tert-butyldisilane. The molecules adopt a conformation with C2 symmetry. The P–P–C angles returned from the gas electron diffraction refinement are 118.8(6) and 98.9(6)°, a difference of 20°, whilst the C–P–C angle is 110.3(8)°. The corresponding parameters in the crystal are 120.9(1), 99.5(1) and 109.5(1)°. There are also large deformations within the tert-butyl groups, making the DYNAMITE analysis for this molecule extremely important.