Engaging Esters as Cross-Coupling Electrophiles

Title: Engaging Esters as Cross-Coupling Electrophiles
Authors: Ben Halima, Taoufik
Date: 2019-08-09
Abstract: Cross-coupling reactions, where a transition metal catalyst facilitates the formation of a new carbon-carbon or carbon-heteroatom bond between two coupling partners, has become one of the most widely used, reliable, and robust family of transformations for the construction of molecules. The Nobel Prize was awarded to pioneers in this field who primarily used aryl iodides, bromides, and triflates as electrophilic coupling partners. The expansion of the reaction scope to non-traditional electrophiles is an ongoing challenge to enable an even greater number of useful products to be made from simple starting materials. The major goal of this thesis research is to improve and expand upon this field by using esters as electrophiles via the activation of the strong C(acyl)−O bond. Esters are particularly robust in comparison to other carboxylic acid derivatives used in cross-coupling reactions. Success on the activation of such inert functional group using catalysis has both fundamental and practical value. By discovering new reaction modes of this abundant functional group, synthetic routes to access novel or industrially important molecules can be improved. Chapter 1 of this thesis describes a literature overview of what has been accomplished in the field of cross coupling reactions using carboxylic acid derivatives as electrophilic coupling partners. Chapter 2 discloses the first palladium Suzuki-Miyaura couplings of phenyl esters to produce ketones. The method is efficient and robust, giving good yields of useful products. The reaction is proposed to proceed via an oxidative addition to the strong C(acyl)−O bond of the ester. In contrast to previous efforts in this field that use traditional catalysts such as Pd(PPh3)4, the developed reaction requires use of an electron-rich, bulky N-heterocyclic carbene ligand, which facilitates the strong bond activation. Furthermore, a palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling between aryl esters and anilines is reported, enabling access to diverse amides. The reaction takes place via a similar activation of the C−O bond by oxidative addition with a Pd−NHC complex, which enables the use of relatively non-nucleophilic anilines that otherwise require stoichiometric activation with strong bases to react. Chapter 3 discloses a nickel-catalyzed amide bond formation using unactivated and abundant esters. In this transformation, an accessible nickel catalyst can facilitate the activation of diverse aliphatic and aromatic esters to enable direct amide bond formation with amines as nucleophiles. No stoichiometric base, acid, or other activating agent is needed, providing exceptional functional group tolerance and producing only methanol as a by-product. This reaction is of both fundamental and practical importance because it is the first to demonstrate that simple conditions can enable Ni to cleave the C–O bond of an ester to make an oxidative addition product, which can be subsequently coupled with amines. This discovery contrasts industrially-common and wasteful methods that still require stoichiometric activating agents or multistep synthesis. Chapter 4 describes the evaluation of different types of cross-coupling reactions using methyl esters as electrophilic coupling partner. A high-throughput screening technique has been applied to this project. A combination between specific ligands, known by their efficiency to activate strong C−O bonds, and literature-based conditions has been designed for the chosen transformations. Using this strategy, two promising hits have been obtained using the same NHC ligand: a decarbonylative Suzuki-Miyaura and a decarbonylative borylation reaction.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/39493
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -