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Dimeric Gold Bis(carbene) Complexes by Transmetalation in Water

Due to its cost, environmental benefits, and safety advantages, water has become more and more important as a solvent for catalytic reactions and constitutes the best environment for biomedical applications. Therefore, water-soluble and water-stable metal complexes containing strong σ-donor ligands such as N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) are of great interest in modern coordination chemistry. In this paper we present the successful preparation of two new dinuclear gold(I)–bis(NHC) complexes in water, by applying the Ag–NHC transfer route. This green synthetic strategy is valuable for gold(I) compounds involving N-functionalized neutral and dianionic bis(NHC) ligands. These two water-soluble compounds were analyzed by spectroscopic methods and by X-ray diffraction. Furthermore, ab initio and DFT calculations on the corresponding dinuclear gold complexes illustrate the important influence of the electrostatic environment of the dinuclear entity on the aurophilic interactions and help to understand the molecular arrangement presented in this paper.

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