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Divalent Carbon(0) Compounds

Gernot Frenking, Ralf Tonner

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Quantum chemical studies show that there is a class of carbon compounds with the general formular CL2 where the carbon atom retains its four valence electrons as two lone pairs. The C-L bonds come from L → C donor-acceptor interactions where L is a strong σ-donor. Divalent C(0) compounds (carbones) are conceptually different from divalent C(II) compounds (carbenes) and tetravalent carbon compounds, but the bonding situation in a real molecule may be intermediate between the three archetypes. There are molecules like tetraaminoallenes which may be described in terms of two double bonds (R2N)2C=C=C(NR2)2 where the extraordinary donor strength of the dicoordinated carbon atom comes only to the fore through the interactions with protons and Lewis acids. They may be considered as "hidden divalent C(0) compounds". The donor strength of divalent C(0) molecules has been investigated by calculations of the binding energies with protons and with main-group Lewis acids and the bond dissociation energies (BDEs) of transition-metal complexes.