Magnitudes of Electron Withdrawing Effects of the Trifluoromethyl Ligand in Organometallic Complexes of Copper and Nickel

A variety of nickel and copper complexes bearing the trifluoromethyl ligand have been prepared in order to quantify by electrochemical methods the redox potentials relative to their chloro and methyl counterparts. The effects of coordination number and geometry, as well as the oxidation state of the metal, on the relative ease with which trifluoromethyl complexes can be oxidized have for the first time been identified. In the d10 system [(NHC)Cu(X)] (NHC = N-heterocyclic carbene, X = methyl or trifluoromethyl), a single substitution of methyl for trifluoromethyl raised the oxidation potential of the organometallic complex by approximately þ0.6 V versus the ferrocene/ferrocenium (Fc/Fcþ) couple, a testament to the extreme electron-withdrawing properties of the trifluoromethyl ligand. The ΔEox (methyl vs trifluoromethyl) for d8 nickel complexes were of similar magnitude; however the absolute oxidation potentials were dramatically dependent on the ligand (dippe=1,2-bis(diiso- propylphosphino)ethane vs BOXAM = bis(4-isopropyl-4,5-dihydrooxazol-2-yl)phenyl)amine).