Photochemical nitrogenation of alkanes and arenes by a strongly luminescent osmium(VI) nitrido complex

Jing Xiang, Xin Xin Jin, Qian Qian Su, Shun Cheung Cheng, Chi Chiu Ko, Wai Lun MAN, Minying Xue, Liangliang Wu, Chi Ming Che, Tai Chu Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The search for a highly active nitrido complex that can transfer its nitrogen atom to inert organic molecules remains a challenge to chemists. In this regard, the use of solar energy to generate a reactive nitrido species is an appealing strategy to solve this problem. Here we report the design of a strongly luminescent osmium(VI) nitrido compound, [OsVI(N)(NO2-L)(CN)3] (NO2-OsN) with emission quantum yield (Φ) and life time (τ) of 3.0% and 0.48 μs, respectively in dichloromethane solution. Upon irradiation with visible light, this complex readily activates the aliphatic C-H bonds of various hydrocarbons, including alkanes. The excited state of NO2-OsN can undergo ring-nitrogenation of arenes, including benzene. Photophysical and computational studies suggest that the excited state of NO2-OsN arises from O^N ligand to Os ≡ N charge transfer transitions, and as a result it possesses [Os = N] nitridyl character and is highly electrophilic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages11
JournalCommunications Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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