The synthesis of new weakly coordinating diborate anions: anion stability as a function of linker structure and steric bulk

Mark H. Hannant, Joseph A. Wright, Simon J. Lancaster, David L. Hughes, Peter N. Horton, Manfred Bochmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The successive addition of KCN and Ph3CCl to B(C6F4-C6F5-2)3 (PBB) affords triphenylmethyl salts of the [NC-PBB]- anion. By contrast, the analogous reaction with sodium dicyanamide followed by treatment with Ph3CCl leads to the zwitterionic aminoborane H2NB(C12F9)2C12F8, via nucleophilic attack on an o-F atom, together with CPh3[F-PBB]. Whereas treatment of [NC-PBB]- with either PBB or B(C6F5)3 fails to give isolable cyano-bridged diborates, the reaction of Me3SiNC-B(C6F5)3 with PBB in the presence of Ph3CCl affords [Ph3C][PBB-NC-B(C6F5)3]. Due to steric hindrance this anion is prone to borane dissociation. The longer linking group N(CN)2- gives the very voluminous anions [N{CNB(C6F5)3}2]- and [N(CN-PBB)2]-. A comparison of propylene polymerisations with rac-Me2Si(Ind)2ZrMe2 activated with the various boranes or trityl borates gives an anion-dependent activity sequence, in the order [NC-PBB]- < [MeB(C6F5)3]- < [MePBB]- ˜ [PBB-NCB(C6F5)3]- ˜ [N{CNB(C6F5)3}2]- < [F-PBB]- « [B(C6F5)4]- < [N(CN-PBB)2]-. The anion [N(CN-PBB)2]- gives a catalyst productivity about 2500 times higher than that of [NC-PBB]- and exceeds that of [B(C6F5)4]- based catalysts. The van der Waals volumes and surface areas of the anions have been calculated and provide a rationale for the observed reactivity trends in polymerisation reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2415-2426
Number of pages12
JournalDalton Transactions
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Cite this