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Lotsch, Bettina V.; Senker, Jürgen; Schnick, Wolfgang ORCID: 0000-0003-4571-8035 (2004): Characterization of the Thermally Induced Topochemical Solid-State Transformation of NH4[N(CN)2] into NCNC(NH2)2 by Means of X-ray and Neutron Diffraction as Well as Raman and Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy. In: Inorganic chemistry, Vol. 43, No. 3: pp. 895-904


The mechanism of the solid−solid transformation of NH4[N(CN)2] into NCN=C(NH2)2, which represents the isolobal analogue of Wöhler's historic conversion of ammonium cyanate into urea, has been investigated by temperature-dependent single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction, neutron powder diffraction, and Raman and solid-state NMR spectroscopy as well as thermoanalytical measurements. The transformation of the ionic dicyanamide into its molecular isomer upon controlled thermal treatment was found to proceed topochemically in the solid state with little molecular motion, giving rise to a single-crystal to single-crystal transformation which manifests itself by a defined metric relation between the unit cells of the two isomers. The exothermic phase transition is thermally activated and was observed to commence at temperatures ≥80 °C. The pronounced temperature dependence of the onset of the transformation may be assessed as an indication for the metastability of ammonium dicyanamide at elevated temperatures. Thermal analyses reveal a decrease in the reaction enthalpy (56−13 kJ mol-1) at higher heating rates and an average mass loss of 10% gaseous ammonia. Evidence was found for crucial mechanistic steps of the transformation, which is likely to proceed via proton transfer from the ammonium ion to one of the terminal nitrogen atoms of the anion. The protonation is followed by nucleophilic attack of the in situ generated ammonia at the electrophilic nitrile carbon. The proposed mechanistic pathway is based on the results of combined Raman and solid-state NMR spectroscopic as well as neutron powder diffraction measurements.