Enhancing the Air Stability of Dimolybdenum Paddlewheel Complexes: Redox Tuning through Fluorine Substituents

Imogen A. Z. Squire, Christopher Goult, Benedict Thompson, Adrian C. Whitwood, Theo Tanner, Luke Alexander Wilkinson*, Elias Alexopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The optical and electrochemical properties of quadruply bonded dimolybdenum paddlewheel complexes (Mo2PWCs) make them ideal candidates for incorporation into functional materials or devices, but one of the greatest bottlenecks for this is their poor stability toward atmospheric oxygen. By tuning the potential at which the Mo2 core is oxidized, it was possible to increase the tolerance of Mo2PWCs to air. A series of homoleptic Mo2PWCs bearing fluorinated formamidinate ligands have been synthesized and their electrochemical properties studied. The oxidation potential of the complexes was tuned in a predictable fashion by controlling the positions of the fluorine substituents on the ligands, as guided by a Hammett relationship. Studies into the air stability of the resulting complexes by multinuclear NMR spectroscopy show an increased tolerance to atmospheric oxygen with increasingly electron-withdrawing ligands. The heteroleptic complex Mo2(DFArF)3(OAc) [where DFArF = 3,5-(difluorophenyl)formamidinate] shows remarkable tolerance to oxygen in the solid state and in chloroform solutions. Through the employment of easily accessible ligands, the stability of the Mo2 core toward oxygen has been enhanced, thereby making Mo2PWCs with electron-withdrawing ligands more attractive candidates for the development of functional materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19144-19155
Number of pages12
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number48
Early online date18 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022

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