Organometallic chemistry is the study of chemical compounds containing bonds between carbon and a metal.Since many compounds without such bonds are chemically similar, an alternative may be compounds containing metal-element bonds of a largely covalent character. Organometallic chemistry combines aspects of inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry.
Organometallic compounds are also known as organo-inorganics, metallo-organics and metalorganics. Organometallic compounds are distinguished by the prefix "organo-" e.g. organopalladium compounds. Examples of such organometallic compounds include all Gilman Reagents, which contain lithium and copper. Tetracarbonyl nickel, and ferrocene are examples of organometallic compounds containing transition metals. Other examples include organomagnesium compounds like iodo(methyl)magnesium MeMgI, diethylmagnesium (Et2Mg), and all Grignard reagents; organolithium compounds such as butyllithium (BuLi), organozinc compounds such as chloro(ethoxycarbonylmethyl)zinc (ClZnCH2C(=O)OEt); and organocopper compounds such as lithium dimethylcuprate (Li+[CuMe2]–).
In addition to the traditional metals, lanthanides, actinides, and semimetals, elements such as boron, silicon, arsenic, and selenium are considered to form organometallic compounds, e.g. organoborane compounds such as triethylborane (Et3B).
Structure and properties
The metal-carbon bond in organometallic compounds is generally of character intermediate between ionic and covalent. Primarily ionic metal-carbon bonds are encountered either when the metal is very electropositive (as in the case of the alkali metals) or when the carbon-containing ligand exists as a stable carbanion. Carbanions can be stabilized by resonance (as in the case of the aromatic cyclopentadienyl anion) or by the presence of electron-withdrawing substituents (as in the case of the triphenylmethyl anion). Hence, the bonding in compounds like sodium acetylide and triphenylmethylpotassium is primarily ionic. On the other hand, the ionic character of metal-carbon bonds in the organometallic compounds of transition metals, poor metals, and metalloids tends to be intermediate, owing to the middle-of-the-road electronegativity of such metals.
Organometallic compounds with bonds that have characters in between ionic and covalent are very important in industry, as they are both relatively stable in solutions and relatively ionic to undergo reactions. Two important classes are organolithium and Grignard reagents. In certain organometallic compounds such as ferrocene or dibenzenechromium, the pi orbitaStructure and properties.
Organometallic compounds undergo several important reactions:
oxidative addition and reductive elimination
organometallic substitution reaction
carbon-hydrogen bond activation