Ni(II) and Cu(II) complexes of phenoxy-ketimine ligands: Synthesis, structures and their utility in bulk ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of l-lactide

Alex John, Vimal Katiyar, Keliang Pang, Mobin M. Shaikh, Hemant Nanavati, Prasenjit Ghosh

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Synthetic, structural and catalysis studies of Ni(II) and Cu(II) complexes of a series of phenoxy-ketimine ligands with controlled variations of sterics, namely 2-[1-(2,6-diethylphenylimino)ethyl]phenol (1a), 2-[1-(2,6-dimethylphenylimino)ethyl]phenol (1b) and 2-[1-(2-methylphenylimino)ethyl]phenol (1c), are reported. Specifically, the ligands 1a, 1b and 1c were synthesized by the TiCl4 mediated condensation reactions of the respective anilines with o-hydroxyacetophenone in 21-23% yield. The nickel complexes, {2-[1-(2,6-diethylphenylimino)ethyl]phenoxy}2Ni(II) (2a) and {2-[1-(2,6-dimethylphenylimino)ethyl]phenoxy}2Ni(II) (2b), were synthesized by the reaction of the respective ligands 1a and 1b with Ni(OAc)2 · 4H2O in the presence of NEt3 as a base in 71-75% yield. The copper complexes, {2-[1-(2,6-diethylphenylimino)ethyl]phenoxy}2Cu(II) (3a), {2-[1-(2,6-dimethylphenylimino)ethyl]phenoxy}2Cu(II) (3b) and {2-[1-(2-methylphenylimino)ethyl]phenoxy}2Cu(II) (3c) were synthesized analogously by the reactions of the ligands 1a, 1b and 1c with Cu(OAc)2 · H2O in 70-87% yield. The molecular structures of the nickel and copper complexes 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b and 3c have been determined by X-ray diffraction studies. Structural comparisons revealed that the nickel centers in 2a and 2b are in square planar geometries while the geometry around the copper varied from being square planar in 3a and 3c to distorted square planar in 3b. The catalysis studies revealed that while the copper complexes 3a, 3b and 3c efficiently catalyze ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of l-lactide at elevated temperatures under solvent-free melt conditions, producing polylactide polymers of moderate molecular weights with narrow molecular weight distributions, the nickel counterparts 2a and 2b failed to yield the polylactide polymer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4033-4044
Number of pages12
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 20 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, for financial support of this research. We are grateful to the National Single Crystal X-ray Diffraction Facility at IIT Bombay as well as to Professor Gerard Parkin, Columbia University for the crystallographic results. PG thanks Professor Goutam Kumar Lahiri, IIT Bombay, for valuable discussion and Professor M. Ravikanth, IIT Bombay, for help with the electronic studies. AJ thanks CSIR, New Delhi for a research fellowship.


  • Copper complexes
  • Nickel complexes
  • Phenoxy-ketimine
  • Ring-opening polymerization
  • l-Lactide


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