Molybdenum (Vi) imido complexes derived from chelating phenols: synthesis, characterization and ɛ-caprolactone rop capability

Reaction of the bulky bi-phenols 2,2′-RCH[4,6-(t-Bu)2C6H2OH]2 (R = Me L1MeH2, Ph L1PhH2) with the bis(imido) molybdenum(VI) tert-butoxides [Mo(NR1)(NR2)(Ot-Bu)2] (R1 = R2 = 2,6-C6H3-i-Pr2; R1 = t-Bu, R2 = C6F5) afforded, following the successive removal of tert-butanol, the complexes [Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)2L1Me] (1), [Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)2L1Ph] (2) and [Mo(Nt-Bu)(μ-NC6F5)(L1Me)]2 (3). Similar use of the tri-phenol 2,6-bis(3,5-di-tert -butyl-2-hydroxybenzyl)-4-methylphenol (L2H3) with [Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)2(Ot-Bu)2] afforded the oxo-bridged product [Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)(NCMe)(μ-O)L2H]2 (4), whilst use of the tetra-phenols α,α,α′,α′-tetrakis(3,5-di-tert-butyl-2-hydroxyphenyl)-p- or -m-xylene L3pH4/L3mH4 led to {[Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)2]2(μ-L3p)} (5) or {[Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)2]2(μ-L3m)} (6), respectively. Similar use of [Mo(NC6F5)2(Ot-Bu)2] with L3pH4 afforded, after work-up, the complex {[Mo(NC6F5)(Ot-Bu)2]2(μ-L3p)}·6MeCN (7·6MeCN). Molecular structures of 1, 2·CH2Cl2, 3, 4·6MeCN, 6·2C6H14, and 7·6MeCN are reported and these complexes have been screened for their ability to ring open polymerize (ROP) ε-caprolactone; for comparative studies the precursor complex [Mo(NC6H3i-Pr2-2,6)2Cl2(DME)] (DME = 1,2-dimethoxyethane) has also been screened. Results revealed that good activity is only achievable at temperatures of ≥100 °C over periods of 1 h or more. Polymer polydispersities were narrow, but observed molecular weights (Mn) were much lower than calculated values.