Dramatic Effect of Carboxylic Acid on the Electronic Structure of the Active Species in Fe(PDP)-Catalyzed Asymmetric Epoxidation

The electronic structure of the iron–oxygen intermediates responsible for catalytic transformations in the biomimetic catalyst systems [((S,S)-PDP)­FeII(OTf)2]/H2O2/RCOOH has been found to be strongly dependent on the structure of the carboxylic acid RCOOH. For carboxylic acids with primary and secondary α-carbon atoms (acetic acid, butyric acid, caproic acid), the active species exhibit electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra with large g-factor anisotropy (g1 = 2.7, g2 = 2.4, g3 = 1.7), whereas for those with tertiary α-carbon atoms (2-ethylhexanoic acid, valproic acid, 2-ethylbutyric acid), the active species display EPR spectra with small g-factor anisotropy (g1 = 2.07, g2 = 2.01, g3 = 1.96). The EPR spectra of the latter intermediates are very similar to those of the intermediates previously assigned to oxoiron­(V) species. The systems featuring intermediates of the second type ensure higher enantioselection in the epoxidation of electron-deficient olefins.