Molecular Physics

Ab initio molecular dynamics study of metallocene catalysed ethylene polymerization III. Bis- Versus mono-cyclopentadienyl metallocenes

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Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of a catalytic reaction are presented. Ethylene insertion is observed to proceed in a SiH2-bridged di(cyclopentadienyl)methylzirconocene cation as well as in the corresponding titanocene cation. The entire reaction path starting from the π coordinated ethylene-metallocene complex up to and including propyl formation takes place in about 150 fs for the zirconocene and 500 fs for the titanocene. For both a Zr and a Ti based monocyclopentadienyl metallocene no insertion was observed, which is indicative of a barrier to insertion. In accordance with this, stepwise variation of the relevant C-C distance along the reaction path as set prior to the dynamics simulation did reveal insertion. These data are in qualitative agreement with results obtained from static simulations on similar species.