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Carbene Complexes

  1. Robert H. Crabtree

Published Online: 15 MAR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia288

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Crabtree, R. H. 2006. Carbene Complexes. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2006


The synthesis, structure, reactions, and applications of carbenes are discussed. Fischer and Schrock carbenes are distinguished. N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) are considered as a class of Fischer carbenes with promise as spectator ligands in homogeneous catalysis. Nucleophilic attack on carbonyls and alpha elimination are noted as leading pathways leading to Fischer and Schrock carbenes, respectively. Criteria are discussed for characterization of carbenes, notably nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The Grubbs metathesis catalyst and alkene metathesis catalysis are also mentioned. Bridging carbenes and carbynes are briefly considered.


  • NHC;
  • Fischer;
  • Schrock;
  • carbyne;
  • metathesis