Chirality-Induced Catalyst Aggregation: Insights into Catalyst Speciation and Activity Using Chiral Aluminum Catalysts in Cyclic Ester Ring-Opening Polymerization

Sami Gesslbauer, George Hutchinson, Andrew J. P. White, Jordi Burés, Charles Romain

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Abstract

A series of chiral-at-metal aluminum complexes have been synthesized using chiral catam ligands. Reactivity studies demonstrate the importance of alkoxide bulkiness and complex chirality in inducing catalyst aggregation. This has been exploited in cyclic ester ring-opening polymerization (ROP). For ε-Cl ROP, enantiopure catalysts were found to outperform a racemic mixture of catalysts, as the racemic mixture resulted in lower activity heterodimeric catalytic species and reduced polymerization rates. In the case of L-LA, one catalyst enantiomer was found to be the most active of the series and outperformed both the other enantiomer and the corresponding achiral catalyst. Very high activities were observed and up to 9,200 equivalents of L-LA were polymerized in 4.5 min at 150 °C with TOF > 100,000 h–1 under industrially relevant conditions. Analysis of the catalyst orders for these reactions provided a meaningful catalyst speciation-activity relationship enabling improved understanding of both catalyst speciation and the activity of each catalytic species involved in cyclic ester ROP using chiral aluminum catalysts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4084-4093
JournalACS Catalysis
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2021

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  • JB EPSRC NIA Nov18

    Bures, J.

    1/10/1830/09/20

    Project: Research

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