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Phosphorus Trifluoride–Hæmoglobin

Naturevolume 168page514 (1951) | Download Citation



THERE are numerous examples of complex compounds formed by trivalent phosphorus compounds which have an electron pair available for the formation of dative bonds1, and recently this knowledge has been extended by the preparation of phosphorus trifluoride complexes of divalent platinum2. There is a close analogy between the lower halides of phosphorus and carbon monoxide in such compounds, and this analogy has been strengthened by the recent preparation of the tetrakistrihalogenophosphine nickels, Ni(PCl3)43, Ni(PBr3)44, and Ni(PF3)44; the latter is a volatile liquid similar to nickel carbonyl, Ni(CO)4. It was therefore thought that phosphorus trifluoride might form a complex with ferrohæmoglobin similar to the well-known covalent complexes with carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, isocyanides, etc.5. The existence of such a phosphorus trifluoride–hæmoglobin compound has been established, providing further evidence for the covalent bonding ability of phosphorus trifluoride.

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  1. 1

    Sidgwick, N. V., “The Chemical Elements and their Compounds” (Oxford, 1950).

  2. 2

    Chatt, J., Nature, 165, 637 (1950).

  3. 3

    Irvine, jun., J. W., and Wilkinson, G., Science (in course of publication).

  4. 4

    Wilkinson, G., M.I.T. Laboratory for Nuclear Science and Engineering Progress Reports (1951).

  5. 5

    Cf. Lemberg, R., and Legge, J. W., “Hematin Compounds and Bile Pigments” (Interscience Publishers, New York, 1949).

  6. 6

    Ruff, O., Z. anorg. Chem., 197, 273 (1931).

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    Present address: Chemistry Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


  1. Department of Chemistry and Laboratory for Nuclear Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



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