Thiophosphinate hydrolysis involving P-S bond scission is desirable for the degradation of organophosphate neurotoxins, and we report the first case for such a hydrolytic process by an organometallic compound. The metallocene, bis(cyclopentadienyl)molybdenum(IV) dichloride, Cp(2)MoCl(2) (Cp = eta(5)-C(5)H(5)), hydrolyzes a variety of thioaryl diphenylphosphinates in an aqueous THF solution. P-S scission of p-methoxythiophenyl diphenylphosphinate has a 500-fold rate of acceleration in the presence of Cp(2)MoCl(2)(aq) with activation parameters of 20(3) kcal mol(-)(1) and -15(3) cal mol(-)(1) K(-)(1) for DeltaH(double dagger) and DeltaS(double dagger), respectively. These activation parameters and the rate acceleration are consistent with an intermolecular hydrolytic process in which the Cp(2)Mo serves as a Lewis acid to activate the phosphinate for nucleophilic attack. Furthermore, rho = 2.3 (25 degrees C) which indicates a single nonconcerted mechanism in which the rate determining step is the nucleophilic attack on the activated phosphinate.
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