Henry Rzepa's Blog Chemistry with a twist

May 6, 2017

How does carbon dioxide coordinate to a metal?

Mention carbon dioxide (CO2) to most chemists and its properties as a metal ligand are not the first aspect that springs to mind. Here thought I might take a look at how it might act as such.


September 11, 2016

What’s in a name? Carbenes: a reality check.

To quote from Wikipedia: in chemistry, a carbene is a molecule containing a neutral carbon atom with a valence of two and two unshared valence electrons. The most ubiquitous type of carbene of recent times is the one shown below as 1, often referred to as a resonance stabilised or persistent carbene. This type is of interest because of its ability to act as a ligand to an astonishingly wide variety of metals, with many of the resulting complexes being important catalysts. The Wiki page on persistent carbenes shows them throughout in form 1 below, thus reinforcing the belief that they have a valence of two and by implication six (2×2 shared + 2 unshared) electrons in the valence shell of carbon. Here I consider whether this name is really appropriate.


May 30, 2016

The geometries of 5-coordinate compounds of group 14 elements.

This is a follow-up to one aspect of the previous two posts dealing with nucleophilic substitution reactions at silicon. Here I look at the geometries of 5-coordinate compounds containing as a central atom 4A = Si, Ge, Sn, Pb and of the specific formula C34AO2 with a trigonal bipyramidal geometry. This search arose because of a casual comment I made in the earlier post regarding possible cooperative effects between the two axial ligands (the ones with an angle of ~180 degrees subtended at silicon). Perhaps the geometries might expand upon this comment?


September 6, 2015

Deviations from tetrahedral four-coordinate carbon: a statistical exploration.

An article entitled "Four Decades of the Chemistry of Planar Hypercoordinate Compounds"[1] was recently reviewed by Steve Bacharach on his blog, where you can also see comments. Given the recent crystallographic themes here, I thought I might try a search of the CSD (Cambridge structure database) to see whether anything interesting might emerge for tetracoordinate carbon.



  1. L. Yang, E. Ganz, Z. Chen, Z. Wang, and P.V.R. Schleyer, "Four Decades of the Chemistry of Planar Hypercoordinate Compounds", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 54, pp. 9468-9501, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201410407

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