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Journal of the American Chemical Society

The first precise molecular structure of a monomeric transition metal cyanide, copper(I) cyanide.


PMID 12010065

Abstract

Copper(I) cyanide is an important reagent in organic, organometallic, and supramolecular chemistry because of both the copper center and the versatile cyanide ligand. Solid-phase CuCN and many of its derivatives show oligomeric or polymeric structures, a trait shared by other metal cyanides. Often, it is difficult to specify the orientation of the cyano ligand in an X-ray structure. Here the first preparation and precise structure of a monomeric transition metal cyanide is reported. Gas-phase reaction between copper vapor and cyanogen (NCCN) clearly gives CuCN (not CuNC). The precise structure of CuCN so produced is determined by millimeter/submillimeter-wave spectroscopy. Because of the highly efficient synthesis and the presence of significant amounts of two copper isotopes, such strong signals were seen that natural-abundance materials allowed observation of transitions for the four isotopomers (63)Cu(12)C(14)N, (65)Cu(12)C(14)N, (63)Cu(13)C(14)N, and (63)Cu(12)C(15)N and the determination of r(o), r(s), and r(m)((2)) structures. All data unequivocally show a linear geometry and that the carbon of cyanide is bound to copper with a Cu-C distance of 1.82962(4) A in the r(m)((2)) structure, which is likely to be closest to the equilibrium geometry.

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