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Keywords:

  • ammonia;
  • carbanions;
  • hydrogen bonds;
  • lithium;
  • sodium
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

It's hip to be a square! The ammines [Li(NH3)4][Ind] and [Na(NH3)4][Ind] both contain a cation coordinated by four ammonia molecules. Whereas the first shows the anticipated tetrahedral coordination, in the second the metal coordination is unexpectedly square-planar. The solvent-separated ion pair forms a rippled layer structure of alternating planar Na(NH3)4+ cations and indenyl carbanions that is attributed to NH3⋅⋅⋅π hydrogen bonds.