Thorium Phosphorus Triamidoamine Complexes Containing Th-P Single and Multiple Bond Interactions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Elizabeth Wildman
  • Gabor Balazs
  • Ashley Wooles
  • Manfred Scheer
  • Stephen Liddle


Despite the burgeoning field of uranium-ligand multiple bonds, analogous complexes involving other actinides remain scarce. For thorium, under ambient conditions only a few multiple bonds to carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, selenium and tellurium are reported, and no multiple bonds to phosphorus are known, reflecting a general paucity of synthetic methodologies and also problems associated with stabilising these linkages at the large thorium ion. Here we report structurally authenticated examples of a parent thorium(IV)–phosphanide (Th–PH2), a terminal thorium(IV)–phosphinidene (Th=PH), a parent dithorium(IV)–phosphinidiide (Th–P(H)-Th) and a discrete actinide–phosphido complex under ambient conditions (Th=P=Th). Although thorium is traditionally considered to have dominant 6d-orbital contributions to its bonding, contrasting to majority 5f-orbital character for uranium, computational analyses suggests that the bonding of thorium can be more nuanced, in terms of 5f- versus 6d-orbital composition and also significant involvement of the 7s-orbital and how this affects the balance of 5f- versus 6d-orbital bonding character.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number12884
JournalNature Communications
Early online date29 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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