Mapping the potential energy surfaces for ring-closing metathesis reactions of prototypical dienes by electronic structure calculations

I.H. Hillier, S. Pandian, Jonathan Percy, M.A. Vincent

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The potential energy surfaces for ring-closing metathesis reactions of a series of simple alpha,omega-dienes which lead to 5-10 membered ring products, have been explored using density functional theory methods. We have investigated both the conformational aspects of the hydrocarbon chain during the course of the reactions, as well as the stationary structures on the corresponding potential energy surfaces. Extensive conformational searches reveal that the reaction proceeds via the conformation that would be expected for the cycloalkene product, though most unexpectedly, cyclohexene forms via complexes in boat-like conformations. The M06-L density functional has been used to map out the potential energy surfaces, and has identified metallocyclobutane fragmentation as being generally the highest barrier along the pathway. The structural variations along the pathway have been discussed for the reactant hydrocarbons of differing chain length to identify points at which cyclisation events may begin to affect reaction rates. Our study provides an excellent starting point from which to begin to learn about the way RCM reaction outcomes are controlled by diene structure
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1072
Number of pages12
JournalDalton Transactions
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • ireland-claisen rearrangement
  • catalyzed olefin metathesis
  • ruthenium carbene complexes
  • dynamic NMR-spectroscopy
  • enantioselective synthesis
  • conformational-Analysis
  • computational methods
  • grubbs-hoveyda
  • RCM Reactions
  • force-field

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