Flexibility of N-heterocyclic carbene ligands in ruthenium complexes relevant to olefin metathesis and their impact in the first coordination sphere of the metal

Francesco Ragone, Albert Poater, Luigi Cavallo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a detailed static and dynamics characterization of 11 N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligands In Ru complexes of the general formula (NHC)Cl2Ru=CH2. Analysis of the dynamic trajectories indicates that the nature of the N substituent can result In extremely different flexibilities of the Ru complexes. In almost all the cases the N substituent trans to the Ru-ylidene bond Is severely folded so that it protects the vacant coordination position at the Ru center. Limited flexibility Is instead associated with the N substituent on the side of the Ru-ylidene bond. NHCs with a single ortho substituent, either a simple Me or a bulkier /-Pr group, have a preferential folding that bends the unsubstituted side of the ring toward the hallde-Ru-hallde plane. Analysis of the dynamics trajectories In terms of burled volume indicates that the real bulklness of these systems can be somewhat modulated, and this flexibility Is a key feature that allows NHCs to modulate their encumbrance around the metal In order to make room for bulky substrates. Analysis of the burled volume In terms of sterlc maps showed that NHCs with mesltyl or 2,6-dllsopropylphenyl N substltuents have quite different reactive pockets: rather flat with constant pressure on the hallde-Ru-hallde plane in the former and vault-shaped with higher pressure on the sides In the latter. Regarding the NHCs with an ortho tolyl or /-Pr group on the N substituent, the steric maps quantify the higher Impact of the unsubstltuted side of the ligand In the first coordination sphere of the metal and evidence the overall C sand C2-symmetric reactive pockets of the corresponding complexes. We believe that a detailed characterization of the differently shaped reactive pockets Is a further conceptual tool that can be used to rationalize the experimentally different performances of catalysts bearing these ligands orto devise new applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4249-4258
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume132
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 31 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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