Ring-opening metathesis polymerization of a diolefinic [2]-catenane-copper(i) complex: an easy route to polycatenanes

J.A. Berrocal, L.M. Pitet, M.M.L. Nieuwenhuizen, L. Mandolini, E. W. Meijer, S. Di Stefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


A dilute (30 mM) dichloromethane solution of the copper(I) complex 1·Cu+ of a [2]-catenane composed of two identical 28-membered macrocyclic alkenes featuring a phenanthroline moiety in the backbone was subjected to ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) with second-generation Grubbs catalyst. Shortly after mixing of reactants, the dark red solution transformed into a gel. The bis(phenanthroline)copper(I) units were effectively preserved during ROMP, as evinced by spectroscopic analysis. This implies that the putative metal alkylidene pseudorotaxane intermediates did not undergo dethreading processes but were involved in ring-chain equilibria strongly biased toward the ring products at the low monomer concentration employed in the ROMP reactions. MALDI-TOF mass spectra of the reaction mixtures obtained at an early stage of the reaction revealed a distribution of interlocked oligomers (1·Cu+)n(PF6 -)n-1 with n up to 7, with no traces of peaks ascribable to open chain species. Rheological and mechanical analyses of the gel products provided independent evidence in support of the conclusion that the fraction of linear species in the polymer is negligible. Indications were obtained that the major portion of the polymeric material is composed of fully interlocked species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1363
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2015


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