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Transmetalation (alt. spelling: transmetallation) is a general chemical reaction type in organometallic chemistry describing the exchange of ligands between two metal centers.

The metal centers need not be the same. The ligands R and R' can be organic or inorganic. The double displacement reaction is conceptually related.

Transmetalation is important in the synthesis of various organometallic compounds. Silver N-heterocyclic carbene complexes are easily formed, and are often used to transfer the carbene ligands to other metals containing labile ligands such as acetonitrile or 1,5-cyclooctadiene.[1] Where L-H+ denotes the ligand precursor:

2 L-H+ + Ag2O → L2Ag+...AgX- (X = ligand precursor counteranion)
L-Ag...AgX + PdCl2MeCN2 → PdL2Cl2

This reaction type also appears frequently in the catalytic cycle of various metal catalysed organic reactions such as the Stille reaction and the Negishi coupling.


  1. ^ Wang, H. M. J., Lin, I. J. B. (1998). "Facile Synthesis of Silver(I)-Carbene Complexes. Useful Carbene Transfer Agents". Organometallics 17 (5): 972-975. doi:10.1021/om9709704.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Transmetalation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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