Synthesis and Structural and Spectroscopic Characterization of Mononuclear Copper Nitrosyl Complexes: Models for Nitric Oxide Adducts of Copper Proteins and Copper-Exchanged Zeolites

Christy E. Ruggiero, Susan M. Carrier, Christopher J. Cramer, William B. Tolman, William E. Antholine, James W. Whittaker

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170 Scopus citations


We report the synthesis and characterization of the first examples of well-characterized mononuclear copper nitrosyl complexes, TpRR′CuNO (TpRR′ = tris(3-R,5-R′-pyrazolyl)hydroborate: 1, R = t-Bu, R = H; 2, R = R = Ph). These novel {CuNO}11 (10 metal d + 1 NO π* = 11 total electrons) compounds model a possible intermediate in nitrite reduction by the copper nitrite reductase from Achromobacter cycloclastes and provide chemical precedent for NO coordination to isolated copper sites in proteins and in zeolites. Compounds 1 and 2 were synthesized by treating the copper(I) complexes [Tpt-BuCu]2 or TpRR′CuL (R = tert-butyl, R′ = H, L = CH3CN; R = R′ = Ph, L = CH3CN; R = R′ = Ph, L = 3,5-diphenylpyrazole) with NO (1 atm) in organic solvent. Manometry measurements showed that NO binding is weak, reversible, and temperature dependent, with only 38(3)% of the available copper in solutions of [Tpt-BuCu]2 bound to NO at 23 °C. Irreversible displacement of the nitrosyl ligand was effected by addition of excess CH3CN or CO to yield the respective Cu(I) adducts. Reaction of 1 with O2 afforded the known complex Tpt-BuCu- (NO3). The geometry of 1 was shown by X-ray crystallography to be approximately C3v-distorted tetrahedral, with bond distances Cu-N = 1.759(6) Å and N-O = 1.108(7) Å and bond angle Cu-N-O = 163.4(6)° (crystal data: monoclinic, space group P21/n (No. 14) at −101 °C, a = 10.28(1) Å,b- 17.40(2) Å,c= 16.12(1) Å,β = 90.0(1)°, V = 2882(8) Å3, Z = 4, R - 0.052 and Rw = 0.065 for 2866 reflections with I > 3σ(I) and 293 variable parameters after correction for twinning). Distinctive spectroscopic features of the nitrosyls 1 and 2 include (i) ν(14NO,15NO) = 1712, 1679 cm−1 (1) and ν(14NO,15NO) = 1720, 1687 cm−1 (2); (ii) MLCT bands at 494 nm (1) and 478 nm (2) with ϵ ~ 1400 M−1 cm−1; (iii) a lack of MCD features or electronic absorptions above 600 nm; (iv) strong features in their MCD spectra corresponding to the MLCT λmax values; (v) EPR spectra with ge ~ g > g = 1.83 and large nitrogen (A 14NO = 27 × 10−4 cm−1) and copper hyperfine splitting. These spectroscopic features were shown to contrast with those of the series Tpt-BuCuX (3, X = Cl; 4, X = Br; 5, X = CF3SO3-; 6, X = N3) that have geometries very similar to that of 1, but which can be described unambiguously as Cu(II) complexes. Significant spectroscopic features of 3–6 include d → d transitions observable at low energies (>900 nm) in their electronic absorption and MCD spectra, LMCT bands between 300–600 nm, and rhombic EPR signals with all g values >2.0 and large copper hyperfine in the high-field component consistent with ground states for the complexes having substantial character. The combined evidence from these investigations suggests that the nitrosyl complexes are best described by a molecular orbital picture in which the orbitals with mostly copper d character are fully populated and the unpaired electron resides in a primarily π*(NO) orbital. This qualitative bonding description was supported by all-electron ab initio Hartree-Fock and post- Hartree-Fock calculations carried out for a simple analog, the Cu(NH3)3NO radical cation, with the heavy atoms constrained to the geometry found from the crystal structure of 1. Spectroscopic features the synthetic compounds share with purported Cu-NO adducts in both copper proteins and copper-exchanged zeolites are discussed, as is the possible relevance of these compounds to proposed intermediates in the reduction of nitrite ion by copper-containing nitrite reductase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11285-11298
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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