The synthesis of phosphine macrocycles is a relatively underdeveloped area and no standard synthetic routes have emerged. Accordingly, two general synthetic routes to tetradentate phosphine macrocycles were investigated. Both routes use Cu(i) ions as template ions because, unlike other metals such as Pd(ii) and Pt(ii), the Cu(i) ions can be removed from the macrocyclic complex without degrading the macrocycle ligand. The first route involves the coupling of two bidentate secondary phosphines bonded to Cu(i) using 1,3-dibromopropane or 1,4-dibromobutane. Using this route, tetradentate phosphine macrocycles with either -(CH2)3OCH3 or Ph groups bonded to the P atoms were synthesized. Macrocycle phosphines containing the -(CH2)3OCH3 groups were investigated for their potential water-solubility, but experiments showed these phosphines were not water soluble. The second synthetic route involved the alkylation of an open-chain, mixed tertiary-secondary, tetradentate phosphine coordinated to Cu(i). Following formation of the macrocyclic ligand, the Cu(i) template was removed by reaction with aqueous KCN to yield the free macrocyclic phosphine. This route was demonstrated for the preparation of the macrocyclic phosphine ligand 1,5,9,13-tetraphenyl-1,5,9,13-tetraphosphacycloheptadecane. Following demetallation, this macrocyclic ligand was coordinated to Fe(ii) and Co(ii) to form the corresponding macrocyclic phosphine complexes.
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Acknowledgment is made to the National Science Foundation (CHE-0809393) for the support of this research.