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Zinc calixarene complexes for the ring opening polymerization of cyclic esters

Lancaster, Simon J.; Walton, Mark J.; Wright, Joseph A.; Elsegood, Mark R. J.; Redshaw, Carl


Simon J. Lancaster

Mark J. Walton

Joseph A. Wright

Mark R. J. Elsegood

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Professor Carl Redshaw
Professor of Inorganic Materials Chemistry and REF Lead for Chemistry


Reaction of Zn(C₆F₅)₂·toluene (two equivalents) with 1,3-dipropoxy-p-tert-butyl-calix[4]arene (L¹H₂) led to the isolation of the complex [{Zn(C₆F₅)}₂L¹] (1), whilst similar use of Zn(Me)₂ resulted in the known complex [{Zn(Me)}₂L¹] (2). Treatment of L¹H₂ with in situ prepared Zn{N(SiMe₃)₂}₂ in refluxing toluene led to the isolation of the compound [(Na)ZnN(SiMe₃)₂L¹] (3). The stepwise reaction of L¹H₂ and sodium hydride, followed by ZnCl₂ and finally NaN(SiMe₃)₂ yielded the compound [Zn{N(SiMe₃)₂}₂L¹] (4). The reaction between three equivalents of Zn(C₆F₅)₂·toluene and oxacalix[3]arene (L²H₃) at room temperature formed the compound {[Zn(C₆F₅)]₃L²} (5); heating of 5 in acetonitrile caused the ring opening of the parent oxacalix[3]arene and rearrangement to afford the complex [(L²)Zn₆(C₆F₅)(R)(RH)OH]·5MeCN R = C₆F₅CH₂-(p-ᵗBuPhenolate-CH₂OCH₂–)₂–p-ᵗBuPhenolate-CH₂O⁻)³⁻ (6). The molecular structures of the new complexes 1, 3 and 6, together with that of the known complex 2, whose solid state structure has not previously been reported, have been determined. Compounds 1, 3–5 have been screened for the ring opening polymerization (ROP) of ε-caprolactone (ε-CL) and rac-lactide. Compounds featuring a Zn–C₆F₅ fragment were found to be poor ROP pre-catalysts as they did not react with benzyl alcohol to form an alkoxide. By contrast, compound 4, which contains a zinc silylamide linkage, was the most active of the zinc-based calix[4]arene compounds screened and was capable of ROP at ambient temperature with 65% conversion over 4 h.


Lancaster, S. J., Walton, M. J., Wright, J. A., Elsegood, M. R. J., & Redshaw, C. (2014). Zinc calixarene complexes for the ring opening polymerization of cyclic esters. Dalton Transactions : an international journal of inorganic chemistry, 43(48), 18001-18009.

Acceptance Date Oct 15, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 15, 2014
Publication Date Dec 28, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 9, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 9, 2015
Journal Dalton transactions
Print ISSN 1477-9226
Electronic ISSN 1477-9234
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 48
Pages 18001-18009
Keywords Ring-opening polymerization, Calixarenes
Public URL
Publisher URL!divAbstract
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Dalton transactions, 2014, v.43, issue 48 at!divAbstract


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