• Ruthenium;
  • Dihydrogen ­ligands;
  • S ligands;
  • Phosphane ligands;
  • Density functional calculations


A series of dihydrogen complexes trans-[Ru(η2-H2){SC(SR)H}(dppe)2][X][BF4] (R = CH3, X = OTf; R = C6H5CH2, X = BPh4; R = H2C=CHCH2, X = BPh4; dppe = Ph2PCH2CH2PPh2) bearing sulfur-donor ligands has been synthesized by protonation of the (alkyl dithioformate)hydrido complexes trans-[Ru(H){SC(SR)H}(dppe)2][X] by using HBF4·Et2O. Competitive substitution reactions between H2 and SC(SR)H in trans-[Ru(η2-H2){SC(SR)H}(dppe)2][X][BF4] have been studied by treatment with CH3CN, CO, and P(OCH3)3. These resulted in the expulsion of SC(SR)H from the metal center, thus indicating that the alkyl dithioformate ligand is more labile than H2. Bonding of alkyl dithioformate ligands (sulfur-donor ligands) trans to H2 have been studied by comparing the H–H distances and chemical-shift values (1H NMR spectroscopy) of the various dihydrogen complexes bearing different trans ligands. This study qualitatively suggests that the alkyl dithioformate ligands in these trans-dihydrogen complexes show a poor π effect, and it is further supported by density functional theory calculations. The first example of a dihydrogen complex bearing dithioformic acid, trans-[Ru(η2-H2){SC(SH)H}(dppe)2][BF4]2, was obtained by protonation of trans-[Ru(H){SC(S)H}(dppe)2] by using HBF4·Et2O.