Two new glycine-Schiff base copper(II) complexes were synthesized. Single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD) allowed us to establish the structure of both complexes in the solid state. The glycine-Schiff base copper(II) complex derived from 2′-hydroxy-5′-nitroacetophenone showed a mononuclear hydrated structure, in which the Schiff base acted as a tridentate ligand, and the glycine-Schiff base copper(II) complex derived from 2′-hydroxy-5′-methylacetophenone showed a less common tetranuclear anhydrous metallocyclic structure, in which the Schiff base acted as a tetradentate ligand. In both compounds, copper(II) had a tetracoordinated square planar geometry. The results of vibrational, electronic, and paramagnetic spectroscopies, as well as thermal analysis, were consistent with the crystal structures. Both complexes were evaluated as catalysts in the olefin cyclopropanation by carbene transference, and both led to very high diastereoselectivity (greater than 98%).
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