Specialized Ruthenium Olefin Metathesis Catalysts Bearing Bulky Unsymmetrical NHC Ligands: Computations, Synthesis, and Application

Second-generation ruthenium olefin metathesis catalysts were investigated with systematic variation of the unsymmetrical uNHC ligands. Depending on the uNHC steric bulk, the catalysts exhibited different activity and selectivity in metathesis reactions. DFT calculations and X-ray crystallographic data were used to understand the influence of uNHC ligand structure on the catalyst properties. Furthermore, the catalysts were examined in the context of reactions that are problematic for general-purpose Ru catalysts, including industrially important self-cross metathesis of α-olefins and ethenolysis of ethyl oleate.