Dehydropolymerization of H3B·NMeH2 Using a [Rh(DPEphos)]+ Catalyst: The Promoting Effect of NMeH2

Gemma M Adams, David E Ryan, Nicholas A Beattie, Alasdair I McKay, Guy C Lloyd-Jones, Andrew S Weller

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[Rh(κ2-PP-DPEphos){η2η2-H2B(NMe3)(CH2)2tBu}][BArF4] acts as an effective precatalyst for the dehydropolymerization of H3B·NMeH2 to form N-methylpolyaminoborane (H2BNMeH)n. Control of polymer molecular weight is achieved by variation of precatalyst loading (0.1-1 mol %, an inverse relationship) and use of the chain-modifying agent H2: with Mn ranging between 5 500 and 34 900 g/mol and between 1.5 and 1.8. H2 evolution studies (1,2-F2C6H4 solvent) reveal an induction period that gets longer with higher precatalyst loading and complex kinetics with a noninteger order in [Rh]TOTAL. Speciation studies at 10 mol % indicate the initial formation of the amino-borane bridged dimer, [Rh22-PP-DPEphos)2(μ-H)(μ-H2BN=HMe)][BArF4], followed by the crystallographically characterized amidodiboryl complex [Rh2(cis-κ2-PP-DPEphos)2(σ,μ-(H2B)2NHMe)][BArF4]. Adding ∼2 equiv of NMeH2 in tetrahydrofuran (THF) solution to the precatalyst removes this induction period, pseudo-first-order kinetics are observed, a half-order relationship to [Rh]TOTAL is revealed with regard to dehydrogenation, and polymer molecular weights are increased (e.g., Mn = 40 000 g/mol). Speciation studies suggest that NMeH2 acts to form the precatalysts [Rh(κ2-DPEphos)(NMeH2)2][BArF4] and [Rh(κ2-DPEphos)(H)2(NMeH2)2][BArF4], which were independently synthesized and shown to follow very similar dehydrogenation kinetics, and produce polymers of molecular weight comparable with [Rh(κ2-PP-DPEphos){ η2-H2B(NMe3)(CH2)2tBu}][BArF4], which has been doped with amine. This promoting effect of added amine in situ is shown to be general in other cationic Rh-based systems, and possible mechanistic scenarios are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3657-3666
Number of pages10
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number4
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 American Chemical Society


  • amine-borane
  • dehydropolymerization
  • DPEphos
  • mechanism
  • rhodium

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