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Oligogermanes Start To Branch Out

May 5, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 18

The periodic table foretells that the chemistry of germanium should be similar to that of carbon. Indeed, a growing number of linear oligogermanes are being synthesized. These are compounds with germanium backbones and hydrocarbon substituents that are the closest germanium analogs to linear hydrocarbons. But reports of branched oligogermanes are rare. Monika L. Amadoruge and Charles S. Weinert at Oklahoma State University and coworkers now report a novel stepwise strategy for constructing branched oligogermanes that could change that situation (Organometallics, DOI: 10.1021/om800040f). In one example, the researchers reacted PhGeH3 with three equivalents of Ph3GeN(CH3)2 in acetonitrile solution to make the tetragermane PhGe(GePh3)3, where Ph = phenyl. The chemists obtained the crystal structure for this compound (shown), which is a first for a branched oligogermane. The team also prepared PhGe(GeBu2H)3, where Bu = butyl, and used it as a building block to construct more highly branched heptagermanes. The germanium atoms impart to these compounds potentially useful optical and electronic properties that differ from those of their hydrocarbon relatives, the researchers note. They are in the process of constructing larger dendrimer-like oligogermanes, and "we have developed a method to include chiral Ge centers into the Ge–Ge backbones," Weinert says.


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