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On the Role of Disproportionation Energy in Kumada Catalyst-Transfer Polycondensation

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journal contribution
posted on 21.08.2012, 00:00 by Jenna A. Bilbrey, S. Kyle Sontag, N. Eric Huddleston, Wesley D. Allen, Jason Locklin
Kumada catalyst-transfer polycondensation (KCTP) is an effective method for the controlled polymerization of conjugated polymers. Nevertheless, side reactions leading to early termination and unwanted chain coupling cause deviations from the target molecular weight, along with increasing polydispersity and end group variation. The departure from the KCTP cycle stems from a disproportionation reaction that leads to experimentally observed side products. The disproportionation energies for a series of nickel-based initiators containing bidentate phosphino attendant ligands were computed using density functional theory at the B3LYP/DZP level. The initiator was found to be less favorable toward disproportionation by 0.5 kcal mol–1 when ligated by 1,3-bis­(diphenylphosphino)­propane (dppp) rather than 1,2-bis­(diphenylphosphino)­ethane (dppe). Trends in disproportionation energy (Edisp) with a variety of bidentate phosphine ligands match experimental observations of decreased polymerization control. Theoretical Edisp values can thus be used to predict the likelihood of disproportionation in cross-coupling reactions and, therefore, aid in catalyst design.

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