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Selectivity, activity, and stability of ruthenium-carbene based olefin metathesis initiators


Ulman, Michael (2000) Selectivity, activity, and stability of ruthenium-carbene based olefin metathesis initiators. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/tbb7-wb93.


The olefin metathesis reaction has found many applications in polymer synthesis and more recently in organic synthesis. The use of single component late metal olefin metathesis catalysts has expanded the scope of the reaction to many new applications and has allowed for detailed study of the catalytic species.

The metathesis of terminal olefins of different steric bulk, different geometry as well as electronically different para-substituted styrenes was studied with the ruthenium based metathesis initiators, trans-(PCy3)2Cl2Ru=CHR, of different carbene substituents. Increasing olefin bulk was found to slow the rate of reaction and trans internal olefins were found to be slower to react than cis internal olefins. The kinetic product of a11 reactions was found to be the alkylidene, rather than the methylidene, suggesting the intermediacy of a 2,4-metallacycle. The observed effects were used to explain the mechanism of ring opening cross metathesis and acyclic diene metathesis polymerization. No linear electronic effects were observed.

In studying the different carbene ligands, a series of ester-carbene complexes was synthesized. These complexes were found to be highly active for the metathesis of olefinic substrates, including acrylates and trisubstituted olefins. In addition, the estercarbene moiety is thermodynamically high in energy. As a result, these complexes react to ring-open cyclohexene by metathesis to alleviate the thermodynamic strain of the ester-carbene ligand. However, ester-carbene complexes were found to be thermolytically unstable in solution.

Thermolytic decomposition pathways were studied for several ruthenium-carbene based olefin metathesis catalysts. Substituted carbenes were found to decompose through bimolecular pathways while the unsubstituted carbene (the methylidene) was found to decompose unimolecularly. The stability of several derivatives of the bis-phosphine ruthenium based catalysts was studied for its implications to ring-closing metathesis. The reasons for the activity and stability of the different ruthenium-based catalysts is discussed.

The difference in catalyst activity and initiation is discussed for the bis-phosphine based and mixed N-heterocyclic carbene/phosphine based ruthenium olefin metathesis catalysts. The mixed ligand catalysts initiate far slower than the bis-phosphine catalysts but are far more metathesis active. A scheme is proposed to explain the difference in reactivity between the two types of catalysts.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
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:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:24 February 2000
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06172014-104222829
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8522
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:17 Jun 2014 19:53
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:19

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