Zinc N-heterocyclic carbene complexes and their polymerization of d,l-lactide

Tryg R. Jensen, Chris P. Schaller, Marc A. Hillmyer, William B. Tolman

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A series of zinc complexes of monodentate N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and a new sterically bulky bidentate pyridyl-NHC ligand have been synthesized and characterized by spectroscopic and X-ray crystallographic methods. Dinuclear alkoxide complexes of monodentate NHC complexes with 2,4,6-trimethylphenyl substituents appear to form monomeric species in solution and show good control and activity for lactide polymerization, including mild stereoelectivity as indicated by formation of heterotactic-enriched polylactide in d,l-lactide polymerizations. Kinetics studies revealed an overall second order rate law, first order in [LA] and [catalyst]. Efforts to obtain Zn-alkoxide complexes of a more sterically hindered NHC with 2,6-diisopropylphenyl groups were unsuccessful due to Zn-NHC bond scission. Ligand dissociation was also observed in attempts to prepare Zn-alkoxide complexes of the bidentate pyridyl-NHC system, despite its chelating nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5881-5891
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Organometallic Chemistry
Issue number24-25
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Lactide
  • N-heterocyclic carbenes
  • Polylactide
  • Polymerization catalysis
  • Zinc

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