The syntheses and solid-state and solution structures of a series of unusually volatile, charge neutral, [4 + 4] double-stranded helical complexes of divalent manganese, iron, cobalt, and zinc are described. Deprotonation of the N-4-donor iminopyrrole ligand H2L by KH cleanly generates the salt K-2(THF)(2)L, which displays both sigma and pi interactions between K and iminopyrrolyl fragments in the X-ray crystal structure. Transamination, salt elimination, and protonolysis reactions were found to be versatile and, in general, high-yielding routes to the dinuclear double helicates [M-2(L)(2)] (M = Mn, Fe, Co, and Zn). These compounds are isomorphous in the solid state by X-ray crystallography and adopt dinuclear cleft motifs as a result of 7 stacking between opposing iminopyrrolyl fragments. This motif was also observed in the solution structures of [Fe-2(L)(2)] and [Zn-2(L)(2)] below 230 and 200 K, respectively (Delta G(+) = similar to 46 and 39.0 KJ mol(-1), respectively).
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