The production of polyolefins using heterogeneous catalysts is a giant industry. The commissioning by the U. S. company Exxon in 1991 of the first demonstration plant using a new generation of cyclopentadienyl metal catalysts opened a new chapter in the plastics industry. Homogeneous catalysis using cyclopentadienyl (Cp)-based Ti or Zr complexes is becoming of major importance in polymer technology. Few alternative (to Cp) ligand types have generated active catalytic systems.
We propose to build on recent work (Lappert et al. ) on zirconium(IV) complexes with new bulky allyl 1, l-aza-allyl 2 and B-diketiminate 3 ligands which has, however, shown promise. We shall extend the coordination chemistry of ligands 1-3 (and modify them) to various d0 group 3 and 4 metals and 4f elements, and explore their role as catalysts. We expect to develop a range of novel, highly active uniform-site a-olefin polymerisation catalysts. The results should have significant industrial relevance.