The structural chemistry of aziridino- and azetidinosilanes

Gerald Huber, Alexander Jockisch, Hubert Schmidbaur

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12 Scopus citations


In a continuation of structural investigations of poly(amino)silanes, a series of silicon derivatives of aziridine and azetidine have been prepared. Analogies with the isoelectronic phosphorus ylide species and the high barrier to inversion at nitrogen in small N heterocycles were suggestive of steeply pyramidal and rather rigid configurations at the N atoms in the title compounds. Tetrakis(N-aziridino)silane (1) and tetrakis(N-azetidino)silane (2) have been synthesized from SiCl4 and LiN(CH2)X (x = 2, 3). Compound 1 is also formed when LiN(CH2)2 and HSiCl3 are used as starting materials, but with free aziridine a non-volatile product (1a) is obtained. In neither case could any trace of HSi[N(CH2)2]3 be detected. In contrast, RSiCl3 (R = Me, Ph) could readily be converted into the corresponding tris(N-aziridino)silanes (3, 4) by treatment with excess aziridine. Tris(N-azetidino)silane (5) was accessible from HSiCl3 and excess azetidine, but the product was found to contain an unknown impurity. In order to determine the local symmetry and the dynamics of the aziridine rings, 1H-NMR spectra were recorded at low temperature (-80°C). No splitting of the signals was observed, indicating that the inversion barriers are extremely low, even in the highly strained three-membered heterocycles. Nevertheless, single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies of the N-triphenylsilyl derivatives of aziridine (6) and azetidine (7) revealed an aziridinyl group with a steeply pyramidal configuration at nitrogen in 6 (sum of the angles at N 313.32°), and an azetidinyl group with a flat geometry in 7 (sum of the angles at N 350.96°). The Si-N bond is significantly shorter in 7 as compared to that in 6.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aminosilanes
  • Azetidine
  • Aziridine
  • Configuration determination
  • Molecular conformation
  • Nitrogen
  • Silicon


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