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Indium complexes and their role in the ring-opening polymerization of lactide Douglas, Amy Frances


The synthesis and characterization of a series of chiral indium complexes bearing a tridentate NNO ligand are reported. The ligand 2-[[[(dimethylamino)cyclohexyl]amino]methyl]- 4,6-bis(tert-butyl) phenol (H₂NNO) was synthesized via a previously published procedure and bound to indium by both a protonolysis and salt metathesis route. A dimethylated indium complex (NNO)InMe₂ (1) was isolated by reaction of InMe₃ with H₂NNO. A one-pot saltmetathesis route was used to produce a unique mixed-bridge dinuclear indium complex [(NNO)InCl] ₂(μ-OEt)(μ-Cl) (3) from a mixture of indium trichloride, potassium ethoxide and the monopotassiated salt of the ligand, KH(NNO). Direct reaction of KH(NNO) and indium trichloride resulted in the formation of (NNO)InCl₂ (4) which was carried forward to 3 by reaction with sodium ethoxide. The complex 3 is active for the ROP of β-butyrolactone ε-caprolactone and lactide and is the first reported indium-based catalyst for lactide or β-butyrolactone ROP. Kinetic studies of 3 for ROP of LA revealed that catalyst was well-behaved, and that the rate was first order with regard to lactide and catalyst. The enthalpy and entropy of activation for the ROP were experimentally determined. Polymer produced by ROP by 3 has narrow molecular weight distribution and a good correlation is seen between the observed moleular weight and monomer loading. A mechanism was proposed for 3 acting as a catalyst for the ROP of lactide; however further experiments are required to confirm this mechanism. Polymer samples isolated from the ROP of rac-lactide by rac-3 show isotactic enrichment. It is postulated that the chiral catalyst 3 is exerting stereocontrol via an enantiomorphic site control mechanism.

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