Groups 1, 2 and Zn(II) Heterodinuclear Catalysts for Epoxide/CO2 Ring-Opening Copolymerization

A series of heterodinuclear complexes are reported where both Zn­(II) and a metal from Group 1 or 2 are chelated by a macrocyclic diphenolate-tetra-amine ligand. The complexes are characterized in the solid state, where relevant by single crystal X-ray crystallography and elemental analysis, and in solution, using NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. The complex synthesis is achieved by reaction of the ligand with diethyl zinc to form the monozinc complex, in situ, followed by subsequent coordination of the second metal; this method enables heterodinuclear conversions >90% as determined by NMR spectroscopy. Alternatively, the same heterodinuclear complexes are accessed by reaction between the two homodinuclear complexes at elevated temperatures for extended periods. These findings suggest that most of the heterodinuclear complexes are the thermodynamic reaction products; the only exception is the Na­(I)/Zn­(II) complex which is unstable with respect to the homodinuclear counterparts. The catalytic activities and selectivity of the stable heterodinuclear complexes are compared, against each other and the relevant homodinuclear analogues, for the ring-opening copolymerization of CO2 and CHO. Nearly all the heterodinuclear complexes are less active than the dizinc analogues, but the Mg­(II)/Zn­(II) catalyst is more active. The co-ligand influences the product selectivity, with iodide ligands resulting in cyclic carbonate formation and carboxylate ligands giving a high selectivity for polycarbonate.