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Title: Small molecule activation using electropositive metal N-heterocyclic carbene complexes
Author: Turner, Zoe Rose
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 9275
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2011
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The versatility of N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) is demonstrated by numerous practical applications in homogeneous transition metal catalysis, organocatalysis and materials science. There remains a paucity of electropositive metal NHC complexes and so this chemistry is poorly developed with respect to that of the late transition metal and main group elements. This thesis describes the synthesis of new alkoxy-tethered NHC proligands, their use in the synthesis of reactive metal amide and metal alkyl complexes, and finally small molecule activation using these complexes. Chapter One introduces NHCs and discusses their use as supporting ligands for early transition metal and f-block complexes. Small molecule activation using organometallic complexes is examined alongside the use of electropositive metal NHC complexes in catalysis. Chapter Two contains the synthesis and characterisation of new alkoxy-tethered NHC proligands and a variety of electropositive MII (M = Mg and Zn), MIII (M = Y, Sc, Ce and U) and MIV (M = Ce and U) amide complexes. X-ray diffraction studies and a DFT study are used to probe the extent of covalency in the bonding of the MIV complexes. Chapter Three investigates the reactivity of the amide complexes prepared in Chapter Two. The MII complexes are shown to be initiators for the polymerisation of raclactide into biodegradable polymers. The MIII complexes are used to demonstrate additionelimination reactivity of polar substrates across the M-Ccarbene bond which allows the formation of new N-E (E = Si, Sn, P or B) bonds. Treatment of the UIII silylamide complex U(N{SiMe3}2)3 with CO results in the reductive coupling and homologation of CO to form an ynediolate core -OC≡CO- and the first example of subsequent reactivity of the ynediolate group. The MIV complexes are used to examine the potential for forming MIV cationic species and alkyl complexes. Chapter Four examines the synthesis of MIII (M = Ce and Sc) aminobenzyl complexes and MIII (M = Y, Sc and U) neosilyl and neopentyl alkyl complexes. The addition-elimination reactivity discussed in Chapter Three is extended to include C-E bond formation (E = Si, Sn, P, B, I or C). Chapter Five provides overall conclusions to the work presented within this thesis. Chapter Six gives experimental and characterising data for all complexes and reactions in this work.
Supervisor: Arnold, Polly; Mareque-Rivas, Juan; Love, Jason Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N-heterocyclic carbenes ; NHCs ; small molecule activation