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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. A phosgene-free method to prepareN-carboxyanhydrides from amino acids and carbon dioxide has been developed. This method is mild enough to be used in the tandem synthesis of alkaloids tryptanthrin and phaitanthrin A.

     
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  4. We have prepared a new series of nickel phosphine phosphonate ester complexes that feature two metal-chelating polyethylene glycol (PEG) side arms. Metal binding and reactivity studies in polar solvents showed that they readily coordinate external cations, including alkali (Li + , Na + , K + ), alkaline (Mg 2+ , Ca 2+ ), transition (Sc 3+ , Co 2+ , Zn 2+ ), post-transition (Ga 3+ ), and lanthanide (La 3+ ) metals. Although olefin polymerization reactions are typically performed in non-polar solvents, which cannot solubilize +2 and +3 metal cations, we discovered that our nickel catalysts could promote ethylene polymerization in neat tetrahydrofuran. This advance allowed us, for the first time, to systematically investigate the effects of a wide range of M + , M 2+ , and M 3+ ions on the reactivity of nickel olefin polymerization catalysts. In ethylene homopolymerization, the addition of Co(OTf) 2 to our nickel-PEG complexes provided the largest boost in activity (up to 11-fold, 2.7 × 10 6 g mol −1 h −1 ) compared to that in the absence of external salts. The catalyst enhancing effects of secondary metals were also observed in studies of ethylene and polar olefin ( e.g. , propyl vinyl ether, allyl butyl ether, methyl-10-undecenoate, and 5-acetoxy-1-pentene) copolymerization. Notably, combining either Co 2+ or Zn 2+ with our nickel complexes increased the rates of polymerization in the presence of propyl vinyl ether by about 5.0- and 2.4-fold, respectively. Although further studies are needed to elucidate the structural and mechanistic roles of the secondary metals, this work is an important advance toward the development of cation-switchable polymerization catalysts. 
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  5. We have successfully applied a pendent Lewis acid design strategy to enhance the ethylene polymerization rates of nickel phenoxyphosphine catalysts. Our heterobimetallic complex is among one of the most productive coordination insertion catalysts reported to date for nickel. Due to its tendency to generate large reaction exotherms, it is necessary to apply continuous temperature control and low catalyst loading to achieve optimal efficiency. 
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