Recently, homogeneous cobalt systems were reported to catalyze the reductive silylation of dinitrogen. In this study the investigations on the silylation of dinitrogen catalyzed by CoH(PPh3
are presented. We show that in the presence of the title compound, the reaction of N2
with trimethylsilylchloride and sodium yields, on average, 6.7 equivalents of tris(trimethylsilyl)amine per Co atom in THF (tetrahydrofuran). The aim was to elucidate whether the active catalyst is: (a) the [Co(PPh3
anion formed after two-electron reduction of the title compound; or (b) a species formed via decomposition of CoH(PPh3
in the presence of the highly reactive substrates. Time profile, and IR and EPR spectroscopic investigations show instability of the pre-catalyst under the applied conditions which suggests that the catalytically active species is formed through in situ modification of the pre-catalyst.
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