In this work, we explore the reactivity induced by coordination of a CO molecule trans to the Ru-benzylidene bond of a prototype Ru-olefin metathesis catalyst bearing a N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligand. DFT calculations indicate that CO binding to the Ru center promotes a cascade of reactions with very low-energy barriers that lead to the final crystallographically characterized product, in which the original benzylidene group has attacked the proximal aromatic ring of the ligand leading to a cycloheptatriene ring through a Buchner ring expansion. In conclusion, the overall mechanism is best described as a carbene insertion into a C-C bond of the aromatic N-substituent of the NHC ligand, forming a cyclopropane ring. This cyclopropanation step is followed by a Buchner ring expansion reaction, leading to the experimentally observed product presenting a cycloheptatriene ring.
- Homogeneous catalysis
- N-heterocyclic carbene
- Olefins metathesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry