Olefin Metathesis: Life, Death, and Sustainability

Justin Alexander MacDonald Lummiss, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
Over the past 15 years, ruthenium-catalyzed olefin metathesis has emerged as a cornerstone synthetic methodology in academia. Applications in fine-chemicals and pharmaceutical manufacturing, however, are just beginning to come on stream. Industrial uptake has been impeded by economic constraints associated with catalyst costs. These are due both to direct costs (exacerbated by intellectual property issues), and to further pressure exerted by the low turnover numbers attainable, and the need for
more » ... e, and the need for extensive purification to remove ruthenium residues. From another perspective, however, these difficulties can be seen as arising from our rudimentary understanding of the fundamental organometallic chemistry of the Ru=CHR bond. In particular, we know little about the nature and reaction pathways of the Ru-methylidene unit present in the active species that propagates metathesis, and in the catalyst resting state. We know slightly more about the ruthenacyclobutane species, but still too little to guide us as to their non-metathetical reaction pathways, their contribution to deactivation relative to the methylidene species, and potential work-arounds. This thesis work was aimed at improving our understanding of the reactivity, speciation, and decomposition of key ruthenium intermediates in olefin metathesis. A major focus was the behaviour and deactivation of species formed from the second-generation Grubbs catalyst RuCl2(H2IMes)(PCy3)(=CHPh) (S-GII), which dominates ring-closing metathesis. Also studied were derivatives of the corresponding IMes catalyst A-GIIm, containing an unsaturated Nheterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligand. The methylidene complexes RuCl2(NHC)(PCy3)(=CH2) (GIIm) represent the resting state of the catalyst during ring-closing and cross-metathesis reactions: that is, the majority Ru species present during catalysis. Mechanistic studies of these key intermediates have been restricted, however, by the low yields and purity with which they could be accessed. Initial work therefore focused on designing a clean, h [...]
doi:10.20381/ruor-885 fatcat:p6zswpytkzddbhclzb32azw7va