American Chemical Society
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Kinetic Resolution of Chiral α-Olefins Using Optically Active ansa-Zirconocene Polymerization Catalysts

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journal contribution
posted on 2004-07-07, 00:00 authored by Cliff R. Baar, Christopher J. Levy, Endy Y.-J. Min, Lawrence M. Henling, Michael W. Day, John E. Bercaw
A series of enantiopure C1-symmetric metallocenes, {(SiMe2)25-C5H(CHMe2)2][η5-C5H2((S)-CHMeCMe3)]}ZrCl2, (S)-2, {(SiMe2)25-C5H(CHEt2)2][η5-C5H2((S)-CHMeCMe3)]}ZrCl2, (S)-6, and {(SiMe2)25-C5HCy2][η5-C5H2((S)-CHMeCMe3)]}ZrCl2, (S)-7 (Cy = cyclohexyl), zirconocene dichlorides that have an enantiopure methylneopentyl substituent on the “upper” cyclopentadienyl ligand, and diastereomerically pure precatalysts, {(SiMe2)25-C5H((S)-CHMeCy)(CHMe2)][η5-C5H3]}ZrCl2, (S)-8a and (S)-8b, which have an enantiopure, 1-cyclohexylethyl substituent on the “lower” cyclopentadienyl ligand, has been synthesized for use in the polymerization of chiral α-olefins. When activated with methylaluminoxane, these metallocenes show unprecedented activity for the polymerization of bulky racemic monomers bearing substitution at the 3- and/or 4-positions. Due to the optically pure nature of these single site catalysts, they effect kinetic resolution of racemic monomers:  the polymeric product is enriched with the faster reacting enantiomer, while recovered monomer is enriched with the slower reacting enantiomer. The two components are easily separated. For most olefins surveyed, a partial kinetic resolution was achieved (s = kfaster/kslower ≈ 2), but, in one case, the polymerization of 3,4-dimethyl-1-pentene, high levels of separation were obtained (s > 15). 13C NMR spectroscopy of poly(3-methyl-1-pentene) produced with (S)-2 indicates that the polymers are highly isotactic materials. X-ray crystal structure determinations for (S)-2, {(SiMe2)25-C5H(CHMe2)2][η5-C5H2((S)-CHMeCMe3)]}Zr(SC6H5)2, (S)-6, and (S)-7 have been used in combination with molecular mechanics calculations to examine the prevailing steric interactions expected in the diastereomeric transition states for propagation during polymerization. Precatalysts (S)-8a and (S)-8b are less selective polymerization catalysts for the kinetic resolution of 3-methyl-1-pentene than are (S)-2, (S)-6, and (S)-7.