Trapping and Reactivity of a Molecular Aluminium Oxide Ion

Jamie Hicks, Andreas Heilmann, Petra Vasko, Jose M. Goicoechea*, Simon Aldridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Aluminium oxides constitute an important class of inorganic compound that are widely exploited in the chemical industry as catalysts and catalyst supports. Due to the tendency for such systems to aggregate via Al-O-Al bridges, the synthesis of well-defined, soluble, molecular models for these materials is challenging. Here we show that reactions of the potassium aluminyl complex K2[(NON)Al]2 (NON=4,5-bis(2,6-diiso-propylanilido)-2,7-di-tert-butyl-9,9-dimethylxanthene) with CO2, PhNCO and N2O all proceed via a common aluminium oxide intermediate. This highly reactive species can be trapped by coordination of a THF molecule as the anionic oxide complex [(NON)AlO(THF)], which features discrete Al−O bonds and dimerizes in the solid state via weak O⋅⋅⋅K interactions. This species reacts with a range of small molecules including N2O (to give a hyponitrite ([N2O2]2−) complex) and H2, the latter offering an unequivocal example of heterolytic E−H bond cleavage across a main group M−O bond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17265-17268
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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