A Caltech Library Service

Z-Selectivc Olefin Metathesis using Chelating Ruthenium Alkylidene Catalysts


Herbert, Myles Benton (2014) Z-Selectivc Olefin Metathesis using Chelating Ruthenium Alkylidene Catalysts. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/M04T-PP58.


Publications about olefin metathesis will generally discuss how the discovery and development of well-defined catalysts to carry out this unique transformation have revolutionized many fields, from natural product and materials chemistry, to green chemistry and biology. However, until recently, an entire manifestation of this methodology had been inaccessible. Except for a few select examples, metathesis catalysts favor the thermodynamic trans- or E-olefin products in cross metathesis (CM), macrocyclic ring closing metathesis (mRCM), ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), and many other types of reactions. Judicious choice of substrates had allowed for the direct synthesis of cis- or Z-olefins or species that could be converted upon further reaction, however the catalyst controlled synthesis of Z-olefins was not possible until very recently.

Research into the structure and stability of metallacyclobutane intermediates has led to the proposal of models to impart Z-selectivity in metathesis reactions. Having the ability to influence the orientation of metallacyclobutane substituents to cause productive formation of Z- double bonds using steric and electronic effects was highly desired. The first successful realization of this concept was by Schrock and Hoveyda et al. who synthesized monoaryloxide pyrolidine (MAP) complexes of tungsten and molybdenum that promoted Z-selective CM. The Z-selectivity of these catalysts was attributed to the difference in the size of the two axial ligands. This size difference influences the orientation of the substituents on the forming/incipient metallacyclobutane intermediate to a cis-geometry and leads to productive formation of Z-olefins. These catalysts have shown great utility in the synthesis of complicated natural product precursors and stereoregular polymers. More recently, ruthenium catalysts capable of promoting Z-selective metathesis have been reported by our group and others. This thesis will discuss the development of ruthenium-based NHC chelated Z-selective catalysts, studies probing their unique metathesis mechanism, and synthetic applications that have been investigated thus far.

Chapter 1 will focus on studies into the stability of NHC chelated complexes and the synthesis of new and improved stable chelating architectures. Chapter 2 will discuss applications of the highly active and Z-selective developed in Chapter 1, including the formation of lepidopteran female sex pheromones using olefin cross metathesis and highly Z- and highly E-macrocycles using macrocyclic ring closing metathesis and Z-selective ethenolysis. Chapter 3 will explore studies into the unique mechanism of olefin metathesis reactions catalyzed by these NHC chelated, highly Z-selective catalysts, explaining observed trends by investigating the stability of relevant, substituted metallacyclobutane intermediates.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Olefin Metathesis, Z-Selectivity, Catalyst Development, Insect Pheromones, Mechanistic Studies
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Grubbs, Robert H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Tirrell, David A. (chair)
  • Agapie, Theodor
  • Peters, Jonas C.
  • Grubbs, Robert H.
Defense Date:28 April 2014
Non-Caltech Author Email:mylesherbert (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05122014-144957040
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adpated for ch. 1 adpated for ch. 1 adpated for ch. 1 adpated for ch. 2 adpated for ch. 2 adpated for ch. 2
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8229
Deposited By: Myles Herbert
Deposited On:19 May 2015 18:00
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:04

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page