The interaction between two Lewis "superacid" catalysts Zn(OTf)2 and In(OTf)3 and series of amide and phosphate ligands is quantitatively characterized by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). A specific feature of the ESI-MS spectra of the mixture of metal triflates and Lewis bases is the formation of ionic adducts resulting from the displacement of one triflate anion by two neutral ligands. A ligand competition model is developed, which describes the relative intensities of the ionic adducts as a function of relative ligand concentrations. The relative affinities deduced from the ligand competition method are combined in an affinity scale for the metal triflate. © 2012 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
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