Nine new Ni(II)-NHC complexes, [CpNiBr(NHC)], were synthesised from nickelocene and the corresponding symmetric or asymmetric alkyl/-benzyl/phenylethyl imidazolium bromide ligands in relatively high yield. Access to each of the synthesised symmetric or asymmetric alkyl/benzyl/phenylethyl imidazolium bromide salts was obtained through deprotonation of imidazole, followed by treatment with an alkyl- or aryl halide, which is subsequently followed with reaction of a secondary alkyl-, benzyl-, or phenylethyl halide. The series of [CpNiBr(NHC)] exhibited catalytic activity in the Suzuki-Miyaura coupling of activated aryl halides with phenylboronic acid to give the respective biphenyl and biphenyl-containing
products. In general, the more electron-donating NHC-bearing Ni complexes showed higher activity with aryl halides bearing electron-withdrawing functionalities including carboxaldehyde moieties. All complexes were characterised by 1H- and 13C-NMR spectroscopy, FT-IR spectroscopy, CHN and MS analyses, along with six selected single
crystal X-ray structures that are reported here.