Posts Tagged ‘Transition metal carbene complex’

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

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

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.