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Diketimines or diimines are a family of ligands and ligand precursors derived from 1,2- and 1,3-diketones by replacement of the carbonyl oxygen atoms with NR groups, where R = aryl, alkyl. Two families of diketimines are important in coordination chemistry and catalysis: 1,2-diketimines and 1,3-diketimines.
Diketimines are prepared by conventional condensation reactions that are used to convert aldehydes and ketones to imines, Schiff bases, and oximes. For example, acetylacetone (2,4-pentanedione) and a primary alkyl- or arylamine will react, typically in acidified ethanol, to form a diketimine. 1,3-Diketimines derived from bulky amines, e.g. 2,6-disubstituted anilines, require prolonged reaction times. 1,3-Diketimines are often referred to as "HNacNac", a modification of the abbreviation Hacac used for α,β-diketones. These species can exist as a mixture of tautomers.
The 1,2-diketimine ligands, also called α-diimines, include dimethylglyoxime as well as oxidized derivatives of o-phenylenediamine. The steric properties of the substituents on nitrogen provide a means to control the axial coordination sites on a square planar complex. Large planar substituents such as mesityl tend to be orthogonal to the MN2 plane. In this way, the axial coordination sites on a square planar complex are shielded. Such steric control is not possible for complexes of the related to 2,2'-bipyridine, glyoximate, and 9,10-phenanthroline ligands.
Deprotonation of HNacNac compounds affords anionic bidentate ligands that form a variety of coordination complexes. Some derivatives with large R groups can be used to stabilize low valent main group and transition metal complexes. Unlike the situation for the acetylacetonates, the steric properties of the coordinating atoms in NacNac- ligands is adjustable by changes in the R substituent. Attachment to a metal center is usually carried out by initial deprotonation of HNacNac with n-butyllithium; the lithium derivative is then treated with a metal chloride to eliminate LiCl. In some cases, HNacNacs also serve as charge-neutral 1,3-diimine ligands.
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