Explaining the High Catalytic Activity in Bis(indenyl)methyl Zirconium Cation Using Combined EDA-NOCV/QTAIM Approach

Samir Kenouche, Nassima Bachir, Jorge I. Martínez-Araya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The main purpose of this study is to elucidate some discrepancies already observed in the catalytic activity values of some zirconocene methyl cations. The EDA-NOCV scheme was employed for a theoretical description of the interactions between an ethylene molecule and five catalysts of zirconocene methyl cation. The nature of the chemical interactions has been elucidated through the QTAIM topological analysis. The steric hindrance due to the ligands was evaluated qualitatively by means of an IRI-based analysis and quantitively through Fisher information. The findings prove that the indenyl ligand seems to favor the orbital interaction between the ethylene molecule and the metal centre of zirconocene methyl cation. Both electrostatic and orbital contributions play a crucial role in stabilising the studied complexes. Based on the NOCV deformation density contributions, the strongest orbital interaction is reached with the bis(indenyl)methyl zirconium cation, which is the only one exhibiting covalent interactions. Especially, the strong contribution of π-back donation (occurring from the occupied orbitals of the zirconium atom to the π* anti-bonding orbital of ethylene) may be a key to understand why this catalyst has a higher polymerisation yield than the other studied catalysts. This work suggests a perspective for predicting values of catalytic activity when theoretically designing novel catalysts of zirconocene type.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200488
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Catalytic Activity
  • Polymerisation
  • Zirconocene Methyl Cations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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