Transition Metal Catalysts for Olefin Polymerization

Web Published:

Transition Metal Catalysts for Olefin Polymerization


Princeton Docket # 14-3038


Presently, only free radical copolymerizations of ethylene and polar industrial monomers (e.g, vinyl acetate or acrylic acid) at high temperatures and very high pressures have been commercialized. This existing technology, however, inherently lacks precise control over the resulting polymer microstructure and precludes access to highly linear (co)polymers. It is therefore advantageous to develop alternative synthetic methods in which material properties can be tuned at will.


Researchers in the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University have developed a new class of single component late transition metal catalysts for coordination polymerization.  A first generation of palladium catalysts has been demonstrated on a small scale to produce predominantly linear polyethylenes with molecular weights up to 240,000 and average turnover frequencies up to 2.1 x 105 h-1. Polymer properties such as molecular weight and branching density can be tuned by modification of the supporting ligand of the catalyst. Furthermore, these catalysts exhibit remarkable persistence at elevated temperatures compared to existing technologies. This catalyst class has also been shown competent for the synthesis of linear, random copolymers of ethylene and polar alkene monomers (e.g., acrylates, acrylic acid). Thus, these robust catalysts can produce hydroxyl- or carboxylate-functionalized linear polyolefins from simple industrial monomers.  



·         Lightly branched polyolefins


·         Highly linear copolymers of olefins and polar monomers such as acrylates


·         Tunable polymer architectures and properties


·         Catalyst longevity at high temperature


·         High catalyst turnover frequencies




Brad P. Carrow is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University. His research interests revolve around transition metal catalysis in the context of polymer synthesis, sustainable organic synthesis, and inert bond activation. Previously he was a postdoctoral fellow working under Kyoko Nozaki and then an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo and completed his Ph.D. studies under John F. Hartwig at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.


Intellectual Property Status


Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.


Michael Tyerech
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762•

Laurie Bagley
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579•



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cortney Cavanaugh
New Ventures and licensing associate
Princeton University
Bradley Carrow
Wei Zhang
polymer chemistry