Unique complex contains first instance of bonding between zinc and mercury

Chemists in the UK have created the unique trimetallic complex {(Ar’NacNac)Zn}2Hg. At the molecule’s heart lies a Zn–Hg–Zn unit – the first example of a bond between two different group 12 metals. What’s more, this metal chain is also the first example of catenation between group 12 elements other than just mercury. And if that wasn’t quirky enough for you, it is also a rare instance of zinc in the +1 oxidation state.

To make the compound, Philip Mountford, from the University of Oxford, and colleagues reduced (Ar’NacNac)ZnI with a potassium–mercury amalgam. The team is now exploring the chemistry of {(Ar’NacNac)Zn}2Hg and its intermetallic homologues.