• Iridium(I) complexes of phenanthroline-derived benzimidazolylidenes : synthetic, structural and catalytic studies

      Du, Xiangdong.; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 2009-02-16)
      N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) have undergone rapid development in recent years. Due to their strong a-electron donation and structural variability properties, NHCs are becoming a major class of ligands in organometallic chemistry. Compared with the other two types of NHCs (imidazolylidenes and imidazolinylidenes), benzimidazolylidenes have not been well represented. Limited synthetic approaches may impede the development ofbenzimidazolylidenes. This thesis is focused on the synthesis of phenanthroline-derived benzimidazolylidene ligands and their metal complexes. A series of benzimidazolylidene-iridium complexes were synthesized and characterized spectroscopically and crystallographic ally. All of the new complexes showed varying degrees of catalytic activity and enantioselectivity toward transfer hydrogenation and asymmetric hydrogenation. The best results were achieved in hydrogenation of methyl-2-acetamidoacrylate, which afforded (-)-(R)-methyl-2-acetamidopropanoate in 97% yield and 81 % ee.