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Not to be confused with phosphonite (formula P(OR)2R) .
Structural formula of a generic phosphinite. R represents a side chain.
Skeletal formula of methyl diphenylphosphinite.

Phosphinites are organophosphorus compounds with the formula P(OR)R2. They are used as ligands in homogeneous catalysis and coordination chemistry.[1]


Phosphinites are prepared by alcoholysis of organophosphinous chlorides. For example, treatment of chlorodiphenylphosphine with methanol and base gives methyl diphenylphosphonite:

ClPPh2 + CH3OH → CH3OPPh2 + HCl

Although they are esters of phosphinous acids (R2POH), phosphinites are not made via such intermediates.


Oxidation of phosphinites gives phosphinates:

2 P(OR)R2 + O2 → 2 OP(OR)R2

Phosphinites are ligands, giving derivatives similar to metal phosphine complexes. They are stronger pi-acceptors than typical phosphine ligands.[2]


  1. ^ D. E. C. Corbridge "Phosphorus: An Outline of its Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Technology" 5th Edition Elsevier: Amsterdam 1995. ISBN 0-444-89307-5.
  2. ^ T. V. (Babu) Rajanbabu “Phosphinite and Phosphonite Ligands” in Phosphorus(III) Ligands in Homogeneous Catalysis: Design and Synthesis Paul C. J. Kamer and Piet W. N. M. van Leeuwen, Eds., John Wiley & Sons 2012. doi:10.1002/9781118299715.ch5

See also[edit]