Rational design of an argon-binding superelectrophilic anion

Mayer, Martin; van Lessen, Valentin; Rohdenburg, Markus; Hou, Gao-Lei; Yang, Zheng; Exner, Rüdiger M.; Aprà, Edoardo; Azov, Vladimir A.; Grabowsky, Simon; Xantheas, Sotiris S.; Asmis, Knut R.; Wang, Xue-Bin; Jenne, Carsten; Warneke, Jonas (2019). Rational design of an argon-binding superelectrophilic anion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 116(17), pp. 8167-8172. National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.1820812116

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Chemically binding to argon (Ar) at room temperature has remained the privilege of the most reactive electrophiles, all of which are cationic (or even dicationic) in nature. Herein, we report a concept for the rational design of anionic superelectrophiles that are composed of a strong electrophilic center firmly embedded in a negatively charged framework of exceptional stability. To validate our concept, we synthesized the percyano-dodecoborate [B12(CN)12]2−, the electronically most stable dianion ever investigated experimentally. It serves as a precursor for the generation of the monoanion [B12(CN)11]−, which indeed spontaneously binds Ar at 298 K. Our mass spectrometric and spectroscopic studies are accompanied by high-level computational investigations including a bonding analysis of the exceptional B-Ar bond. The detection and characterization of this highly reactive, structurally stable anionic superelectrophile starts another chapter in the metal-free activation of particularly inert compounds and elements.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Grabowsky, Simon


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




National Academy of Sciences NAS




Simon Grabowsky

Date Deposited:

20 Jan 2020 11:01

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:35

Publisher DOI:






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