Ruthenium catalysts bearing a benzimidazolylidene ligand for the metathetical ring-closure of tetrasubstituted cycloolefins

Yannick Borguet, Guillermo Zaragoza, Albert Demonceau, Lionel Delaude

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


© The Royal Society of Chemistry. Deprotonation of 1,3-di(2-tolyl)benzimidazolium tetrafluoroborate with a strong base afforded 1,3-di(2-tolyl)benzimidazol-2-ylidene (BTol), which dimerized progressively into the corresponding dibenzotetraazafulvalene. The complexes [RhCl(COD)(BTol)] (COD is 1,5-cyclooctadiene) and cis-[RhCl(CO)2(BTol)] were synthesized to probe the steric and electronic parameters of BTol. Comparison of the percentage of buried volume (%VBur) and of the Tolman electronic parameter (TEP) of BTol with those determined previously for 1,3-dimesitylbenzimidazol-2-ylidene (BMes) revealed that the two N-heterocyclic carbenes displayed similar electron donicities, yet the 2-tolyl substituents took a slightly greater share of the rhodium coordination sphere than the mesityl groups, due to a more pronounced tilt. The anti,anti conformation adopted by BTol in the molecular structure of [RhCl(COD)(BTol)] ensured nonetheless a remarkably unhindered access to the metal center, as evidenced by steric maps. Second-generation ruthenium-benzylidene and isopropoxybenzylidene complexes featuring the BTol ligand were obtained via phosphine exchange from the first generation Grubbs and Hoveyda-Grubbs catalysts, respectively. The atropisomerism of the 2-tolyl substituents within [RuCl2(=CHPh)(PCy3)(BTol)] was investigated by using variable temperature NMR spectroscopy, and the molecular structures of all four possible rotamers of [RuCl2(=CH-o-O$^{i}$PrC6H4)(BTol)] were determined by X-ray crystallography. Both complexes were highly active at promoting the ring-closing metathesis (RCM) of model α,ω-dienes. The replacement of BMes with BTol was particularly beneficial to achieve the ring-closure of tetrasubstituted cycloalkenes. More specifically, the stable isopropoxybenzylidene chelate enabled an almost quantitative RCM of two challenging substrates, viz., diethyl 2,2-bis(2-methylallyl)malonate and N,N-bis(2-methylallyl)tosylamide, within a few hours at 60°C.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9744-9755
Number of pages12
JournalDalton Trans.
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The financial support of the “Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique–FNRS”, Brussels, through grant J.0058.13 is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to thank Prof. Luigi Cavallo and Dr Laura Falivene, KAUST, Saudi Arabia, for generating the steric maps depicted in Fig. 5 and S4.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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