Cyclic olefin copolymers are an important class of polymeric materials. Here, we report the synthesis and characterization of several (N-O)-ligated palladium(II) complexes and their use in ethene homopolymerization, as well as ethene/norbornene and carbon monoxide/norbornene copolymerizations. Most notably, these catalysts show relatively high activity toward ethene/ functional norbornene copolymerizations, and a high level of incorporation of the norbornene derivative was observed. The molecular weight of the copolymers can be controlled by adjusting the ethene/norbornene feed ratio. The ethene/nonpolar functional norbornene copolymerizations have the characteristics of a “living” polymerization at low ethene/norbornene feed ratios. Finally, the successive stepwise insertions of carbon monoxide and norbornene into a preformed palladium- carbon bond were observed by NMR spectroscopy.
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