Unprecedented Carbonato Intermediates in Cyclic Carbonate Synthesis Catalysed by Bimetallic Aluminium(Salen) Complexes

José A. Castro-Osma, Michael North*, Willem K. Offermans, Walter Leitner, Thomas E. Müller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanism by which [Al(salen)]2O complexes catalyse the synthesis of cyclic carbonates from epoxides and carbon dioxide in the absence of a halide cocatalyst has been investigated. Density functional theory (DFT) studies, mass spectrometry and 1H NMR, 13C NMR and infrared spectroscopies provide evidence for the formation of an unprecedented carbonato bridged bimetallic aluminium complex which is shown to be a key intermediate for the halide-free synthesis of cyclic carbonates from epoxides and carbon dioxide. Deuterated and enantiomerically-pure epoxides were used to study the reaction pathway. Based on the experimental and theoretical results, a catalytic cycle is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-794
Number of pages4
Issue number8
Early online date31 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2016


  • aluminum catalyst
  • carbon dioxide fixation
  • cyclic carbonate
  • density functional calculations
  • reaction pathway

Cite this