Studies in Coordination Chemistry

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Williams, Michael

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Piers, Warren

Healy, Peter

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The research reported in this thesis was carried out in Brisbane, Australia and Calgary, Canada. The aim of the research conducted in Brisbane was to prepare a series of copper(I) and ruthenium(II) based complexes incorporating a hemilabile phosphine ligand and to determine whether or not these compounds possessed catalytic activity. The history, uses, properties and recent work incorporating hemilabile phosphine ligands is discussed in detail as well as the application of hemilabile ligands to atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and the usefulness of the 'windscreen wiper' action of these ligands in polymerization. The literature synthesis and characterization of four hemilabile phosphine ligands is reported with modifications. The (2-chlorophenyl)diphenylphosphine ligand was prepared via a Grignard reaction giving a 11% yield. The (2-bromophenyl) diphenylphosphine ligand was prepared by reaction of 2-bromoiodobenzene with Ph2PSiMe3 in the presence of a palladium catalyst (MeCN)2PdCl2 which yielded 50% product. The 1-chloro-2-diphenylphosphinoethane ligand was prepared following the generation of a lithium diphenylphosphide which was added to 1,2-dichloroethane to give a 43% yield of product. The (2-benzoic-acid)diphenylphosphine ligand was prepared by hydrolysis of (2-methyl-ester-phenyl)diphenylphosphine. Following acidification of the methyl ester phosphine with HCl, the desired product was isolated in 88% yield. The synthesis and characterization of a series of copper(I) based complexes incorporating the prepared phosphine ligands involved reaction in CH3CN of the appropriate ligand with copper halides as starting material. Solution state 31P NMR and mass spectrometry were used to study many of these complexes in the solution state, whilst microanalysis, 31P CP MAS NMR and single crystal X-ray diffraction studies were used to study their solid state properties. The complexes of the type bis(2-halophenyl)diphenylphosphine copper halide were found to be three coordinate with non-chelating ligands and to be isostructural with the previously studied bis(2-methylphenyl)diphenylphosphine copper halide complexes. The synthesis and characterization of ruthenium(II) based complexes incorporating hemilabile phosphine ligands involved reaction of the appropriate ligands in MeOH with RuCl3.3H2O or RuCl2(DMSO)4 as the ruthenium source. Modes of characterization included solution state 31P NMR, mass spectrometry, microanalysis and single crystal X-ray diffraction studies. All ruthenium(II) based complexes were found to incorporate the hemilabile ligands in a chelating mode resulting in 6 coordinate structures. The preliminary polymerization testing of MMA in the presence of the copper(I) and ruthenium(II) based complexes has been reported. All complexes successfully polymerized the monomer and the resulting polyMMA showed polydispersity values ranging from moderate (3.1) to very high (6.7). Chapter 7 discusses research conducted over a 6 month period at the University of Calgary, Canada under an International Resident Fellowship award. This work involved the synthesis and characterization of scandium(III) and yttrium(III) based complexes incorporating a chelating amido-imine ligand, as potential olefin polymerization catalysts.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


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hemilabile phosphine ligands


copper-based complexes


ruthenium-based complexes

atom transfer radical polymerization


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