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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stereospecific Nickel-Catalyzed Kumada-Type Cross-Coupling Reactions: Investigation of Scope, Applications, and Active Catalyst Identity

  • Author(s): Dawson, David Douglas
  • Advisor(s): Jarvo, Elizabeth R
  • et al.

In recent years, the Jarvo lab has developed a range of stereospecific nickel-catalyzed Kumada-type cross-coupling reactions of benzylic electrophiles. This transformation allows for the facile synthesis of asymmetric Csp3–Csp3 bonds. The focus of this dissertation is on the investigation of a new class of substrates, aryl-substituted cyclic ethers, and their reactivity in our reaction manifold. In addition, applications of this method to the pharmaceutical industry are discussed. Finally, this dissertation focuses on the determination of the active catalyst identity.

First, investigations into a novel class of substrates, substituted aryltetrahydrofurans, are described. Substitution at each position of the aryltetrahydrofuran is tolerated by our reaction conditions. Aryl and alkyl Grignard reagents are successfully incorporated into our reaction manifold by use of a pre-formed nickel catalyst. Stereochemical proofs are performed on both substrates and products to confirm the stereochemical course of the reaction.

Next, potential applications of our Kumada-type cross-coupling reaction to the pharmaceutical industry are described. An air-stable pre-formed nickel catalyst successfully effected a five gram scale cross-coupling reaction between an aryltetrahydropyran and methyl Grignard reagent. For the first time, isotopically-labeled Grignard reagents are tolerated by our reaction conditions, providing biologically relevant molecules containing isotopic tracers.

Finally, an investigation of the active catalyst identity is discussed. Three pre-formed nickel catalysts were synthesized and characterized. These pre-formed catalysts were subjected to the reaction conditions and the product formation rate was monitored by GC assays. Spectroscopic analyses, including EPR and UV-Vis, were undertaken on both pure pre-formed catalysts and reaction mixtures. The data gathered shows an outsized effect of the cod ligand on catalyst stability, as well as the role of Grignard reagent as a reductant in solution. Ultimately, the data suggests the catalytic cycle follows a traditional Ni(0)/Ni(II) path.

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