The polyhomologation of 1-boraadamantane: Mapping the migration pathways of a propagating macrotricyclic trialkylborane

Carl E. Wagner, Jang Seob Kim, Kenneth J. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Trialkyl and triaryl organoboranes undergo multiple, repetitive homologations upon reaction with dimethylsulfoxonium methylide (1). This multiple homologation reaction, or polyhomologation, produces polymethylene in a living reaction. Applying the polyhomologation reaction to cyclic and polycyclic organoboranes permits the construction of unique oligomeric and polymeric architectures that are not readily accessible by standard olefin polymerization. The polyhomologation of 1-boraadamantane-THF (2) by ylide 1 generates novel macrotricyclic trialkylboranes (3). The oxidation of these macrocyclic organoboranes generates a three-armed star polymethylene polymer (4) incorporating a cis, cis-1,3,5-trisubstituted cyclohexane core. Interestingly, only one-third of the initiators lead to product formation, resulting in an observed degree of polymerization 3 times higher than expected. Close examination of the initial stages of polymerization show that 1-boraadamantane-THF reacts with 1 equiv of 1 to afford a monohomologated product. Subsequent homologations were found to contain branch points leading to isomeric tricyclic products after the third, fourth, and fifth methylene insertions. At these stages of homologation, all of the propagating species result in tricyclic trialkylborane cages with collapsed, inverted pyramidal boron centers that are substantially less reactive toward ylide. Approximately two-thirds of the species discontinue polymerization at these stages. However, one-third of these species continue to propagate and eventually result in the formation of giant macrotricyclic polymers of narrow polydispersity. Molecular modeling and kinetic simulation have aided in the analysis of the probable pathways through which the reaction proceeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12179-12195
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 8 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The polyhomologation of 1-boraadamantane: Mapping the migration pathways of a propagating macrotricyclic trialkylborane'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this