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Impact of Host Flexibility on Selectivity in a Supramolecular Host-Catalyzed Enantioselective aza-Darzens Reaction


A highly enantioselective aza-Darzens reaction (up to 99% ee) catalyzed by an enantiopure supramolecular host has been discovered. To understand the role of host structure on reaction outcome, nine new gallium(III)-based enantiopure supramolecular assemblies were prepared via substitution of the external chiral amide. Despite the distal nature of the substitution in these catalysts, changes in enantioselectivity (61 to 90% ee) in the aziridine product were observed. The enantioselectivities were correlated to the flexibility of the supramolecular host scaffold as measured by the kinetics of exchange of a model cationic guest. This correlation led to the development of a best-in-class catalyst by substituting the gallium(III)-based host with one based on indium(III), which generated the most flexible and selective catalyst.

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