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Ni(NHC)]-Catalyzed Cycloaddition of Diynes and Tropone: Apparent Enone Cycloaddition Involving an 8π Insertion

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A Ni/N-heterocyclic carbene catalyst couples diynes to the C(α)-C(β) double bond of tropone, a type of reaction that is unprecedented for metal-catalyzed cycloadditions with aromatic tropone. Many different diynes were efficiently coupled to afford [5-6-7] fused tricyclic products, while [5-7-6] fused tricyclic compounds were obtained as minor byproducts in a few cases. The reaction has broad substrate scope and tolerates a wide range of functional groups, and excellent regioselectivity is found with unsymmetrical diynes. Theoretical calculations show that the apparent enone cycloaddition occurs through a distinctive 8π insertion of tropone. The initial intramolecular oxidative cyclization of diyne produces the nickelacyclopentadiene intermediate. This intermediate undergoes an 8π insertion of tropone, and subsequent reductive elimination generates the [5-6-7] fused tricyclic product. This initial product undergoes two competing isomerizations, leading to the observed [5-6-7] and [5-7-6] fused tricyclic products.

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