Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Nolan, Steven

Second Advisor

Wiley, John

Third Advisor

Trudell, Mark


The syntheses and characterization of a series of (NHC)Pd(II) complexes (NHC = N-heterocyclic carbene) are described. A variety of architectures and precursors have been employed to lead to numerous air- and moisture-stable complexes. The use of those complexes as pre-catalysts in cross-coupling (Suzuki- Miyaura, Buchwald-Hartwig) and related (catalytic dehalogenation, £-ketone arylation) reactions is also discussed. A comparison of the activity of a variety of (NHC)Pd complexes as pre-catalysts for cross-coupling reactions was carried out. The results indicate that the activation of those pre-catalysts, leading to the catalytically active [(NHC)Pd(0)] species, was key in assuring high catalytic performance under mild reaction conditions. For the first series of complexes described, (NHC)Pd(allyl)Cl complexes, a better understanding of the process leading to the catalytically active species has permitted us to introduce simple modifications (alkyl or aryl groups at the allyl moiety) that dramatically alter the performance of the complexes by facilitating their activation, decreasing reaction times, catalyst loadings and even allowing reactions to be conducted at room temperature. Catalyst loadings as low as 0.05 mol% can be used for the Suzuki-Miyaura crosscoupling of aryl chlorides and aryl boronic acids at room temperature, leading to the synthesis of poly-ortho-substituted biaryls in excellent yields. This catalyst loading is the lowest ever used for this purpose. The system also allows for the first examples of coupling between aryl chlorides and alkenyl boronic acids at room temperature. When the temperature is raised to 80 ¢ XC for these reactions, a catalyst loading as low as 50 ppm can be used to effectively carry out Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings in remarkably short reaction times. As an added advantage, these complexes are air- and moisture-stable and can be prepared in a facile one-pot, multigram scale synthesis from commercially available starting materials in very high yields. The second series of complexes described revolves around the (NHC)Pd(acac)n framework. These complexes are also air- and moisture-stable and can be prepared in a one-step synthesis in high yields from commercially available materials. These complexes were tested forƒn £-ketone arylation and Buchwald-Hartwig amination reactions affording high yields of the desired products, in short reaction times and mild reaction conditions.


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