Asymmetric Aerobic Oxidative Cross-Coupling of Tetrahydroisoquinolines with Alkynes

An efficient asymmetric aerobic oxidation of tetrahydroisoquinolines with terminal alkynes was realized under mild reaction conditions using O2 as the sole oxidant. A chiral N,N′-dioxide/zinc­(II)/iron­(II) bimetallic cooperative catalytic system proves to be efficient for the formation of various α-alkynyl substituted tetrahydroisoquinolines in good to excellent yields and enantioselectivities. A primary mechanistic study supports an enantioselective electrophilic addition of zinc acetylide to the iminium intermediates, formed through a molecular O2-involved oxidative process.