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Metathesis by partner interchange in σ-bond ligands: expanding applications of the σ-CAM mechanism

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Publication details

JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
DateAccepted/In press - 18 Oct 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 26 Nov 2021
Number of pages23
Early online date26/11/21
Original languageEnglish


In 2007 two of us defined the σ-Complex Assisted Metathesis mechanism (Perutz and Sabo-Etienne, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007 , 46 , 2578-2592), i.e. the σ-CAM concept. This new approach to reaction mechanisms brought together metathesis reactions involving the formation of a variety of metal-element bonds through partner-interchange of σ-bond complexes. The key concept that defines a σ-CAM process is a single transition state for metathesis that is connected by two intermediates that are σ-bond complexes while the oxidation state of the metal remains constant in precursor, intermediates and product. This mechanism is appropriate in situations where σ-bond complexes have been isolated or computed as well-defined minima. Unlike several other mechanisms, it does not define the nature of the transition state. In this review, we highlight advances in the characterization and dynamic rearrangements of σ-bond complexes, most notably alkane and zincane complexes, but also different geometries of silane and borane complexes. We set out a selection of catalytic and stoichiometric examples of the σ-CAM mechanism that are supported by strong experimental and/or computational evidence. We then draw on these examples to demonstrate that the scope of the σ-CAM mechanism has expanded to classes of reaction not envisaged in 2007 (additional s-bond ligands, agostic complexes, sp 2 -carbon, surfaces). Finally, we provide a critical comparison to alternative mechanisms for metathesis of metal-element bonds.

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© 2021 The Authors

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