A collaborative research effort between the Departments of Chemistry at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) and University of Jyväskylä (Finland) has resulted in the discovery of a gold compound exhibiting nucleophilic behaviour hitherto unknown for molecular gold.
The research enables new opportunities in applying gold compounds, for example, as catalysts in novel chemical reactions.
Vast majority of transition metal compounds feature a positively charged metal ion bound to neutral or negatively charged electron donor compounds.
In these complexes the metals act as electron acceptors (electrophiles).
In this regard, gold is unique, being the only transition metal to give rise to a negatively charged 'naked' ion, auride, in solution or solid state.
However, only now the first example of nucleophilic reactivity by molecular gold system in solution has been reported.