The Activation Mechanism of Ru-Indenylidene Complexes in Olefin Metathesis

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Olefin metathesis is a powerful tool for the formation of carbon-carbon double bonds. Several families of well-defined ruthenium (Ru) catalysts have been developed during the past 20 years; however, the reaction mechanism for all such complexes was assumed to be the same. In the present study, the initiation mechanism of Ru-indenylidene complexes was examined and compared with that of benzylidene counterparts. It was discovered that not all indenylidene complexes followed the same mechanism, highlighting the importance of steric and electronic properties of so-called spectator ligands, and that there is no single mechanism for the Ru-based olefin metathesis reaction. The experimental findings are supported quantitatively by DFT calculations ​
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