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Site-Isolation Effects in a Dendritic Nickel Catalyst for the Oligomerization of Ethylene

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journal contribution
posted on 17.11.2004, 00:00 by Christian Müller, Lily J. Ackerman, Joost N. H. Reek, Paul C. J. Kamer, Piet W. N. M. van Leeuwen
Dendrimers, specifically suited to construct site-isolated groups due to their well-defined hyperbranched structure, have been used as a ligand design element for the construction of nickel catalysts for ethylene oligomerization. The dendritic P,O ligand indeed suppresses the formation of inactive bis(P,O)Ni complexes in toluene, as is evident from NMR studies, and, as a consequence, outperforms the parent ligand in catalysis in this solvent. The dendritic effect observed in methanol is more subtle because both the dendritic ligand 1 and the parent 2 form bis(P,O)nickel complexes in solution according to NMR spectroscopy. Unlike the parent complex 8, the dendritic bis(P,O)Ni complex 7 derived from dendrimer ligand 1 is able to dissociate to a mono-ligated species under catalytic conditions, that is, 40 bar ethylene and 80 °C, which can enter the catalytic cycle. Indeed, dendritic ligand 1 gives much more active nickel catalysts for the oligomerization in methanol than does 2.