Catalysts for olefin metathesis: ruthenium alkylidene complexes with phosphine and N-heterocyclic carbene ligands

by Trnka, Tina Maria

Abstract (Summary)
The objectives of the work described in this dissertation were twofold: (1) to further improve the activity and selectivity of ruthenium-based olefin metathesis catalysts, and (2) to obtain a better understanding of how these catalysts operate. The first problem was addressed by varying the ligand sphere within the L2X2Ru=CHR framework. Chapter 2 explores the metathesis of directly functionalized olefins, such as 1,1-difluoroethylene and acrylonitrile. Detailed studies revealed that ruthenium alkylidene complexes react readily with these olefins but stop after a single turnover of the catalytic cycle. This effect is caused by electronically deactivating carbene substituents, which dramatically decrease the rate of phosphine dissociation from the metal center and thus prevent catalyst re-initiation. Chapter 3 describes complexes where the L ligands are phosphines, N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs), imidazoles, or pyridines, where the X ligands are chlorides, and where the carbene moiety is either benzylidene or a cyclic moiety. Improved catalytic activity and selectivity were achieved with complexes containing a combination of phosphine and NHC ligands. The reactivity and stability profiles of these species can be tuned through the stereoelectronic properties of the NHC. To facilitate the use of NHCs in organometallic applications, a synthetic route was developed that employs NHC adducts to protect the reactive carbene centers. Chapter 4 describes the reactions of ruthenium alkylidene complexes with alkynes. In the majority of cases, the metathesis polymerization of alkynes is unsuccessful because of competing reactions to form eta3-vinylcarbene and eta5-cyclopentadienyl derivatives. The eta3-vinylcarbene complexes are particularly interesting as models for the olefin-bound intermediate in the olefin metathesis catalytic cycle, and their structures demonstrate that it is possible for the chloride ligands to adopt a cis arrangement that places one of the chlorides trans to the L donor ligand. The studies in Chapter 5 explore the stereoelectronic properties of phosphine and NHC ligands and provide valuable insights about electronic structure and bonding. This information was obtained by a variety of techniques, including structure-activity studies, kinetics, x-ray crystallography, heteronuclear NMR, infrared spectroscopy, and gas-phase UV photoelectron spectroscopy.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Robert Grubbs; Peter Dervan; Jackie Barton; John Bercaw

School:California Institute of Technology

School Location:USA - California

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:12/20/2002

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