1,2-Bis(dimethylphosphino)ethane (dmpe) is a diphosphine ligand in coordination chemistry. It is a colorless, air-sensitive liquid that is soluble in organic solvents. With the formula (CH2PMe2)2 is used as a compact strongly basic spectator ligand (Me = methyl), Representative complexes include V(dmpe)2(BH4)2, Mn(dmpe)2(AlH4)2, Tc(dmpe)2(CO)2Cl, and Ni(dmpe)Cl2.
It is synthesised by the reaction of methylmagnesium iodide with 1,2-bis(dichlorophosphino)ethane:Cl2PCH2CH2PCl2 + 4 MeMgI → Me2PCH2CH2PMe2 + 4 MgICl
Alternatively but it can be generated by alkylation of sodium dimethylphosphide.
The synthesis of dmpe from thiophosphoryl chloride has led to serious accidents and has been abandoned.
Tetramethylethylenediamine is the diamine analogue of dmpe. Bis(dicyclohexylphosphino)ethane is a bulky analogue of dmpe, which offers the advantage of being a solid.