Optically Active (aR)- and (aS)-Linear and Vaulted Biaryl Ligands: Deracemization versus Oxidative Dimerization

The copper-mediated deracemization of the C2-symmetric vaulted biaryl ligands VANOL and VAPOL has been investigated. In the course of the studies that have led to a more reliable procedure for this process, an unprecedented oxidative dimerization of these ligands has been uncovered. The structures of these oxidative dimerization products were elucidated by a series of NMR experiments, and these assignments were supported by other spectroscopic techniques as well as their chemical reactivity. This oxidative dimerization process was not observed for the linear biaryl ligands BANOL and BINOL, although the new deracemization procedure was effective for the generation of BINOL with high optical purity. The (aS)-enantiomers of BINOL, VANOL and VAPOL were accessible with a copper complex of (−)-sparteine, and the (aR)-enantiomeric series were accessible with a copper complex of O’Brien’s diamine. Both (−)-sparteine and O’Brien’s diamine give higher optical purities with VANOL and VAPOL than with BINOL, and this is consistent with the steric congestion present in the matched and mismatched copper complexes of these diamines with the biaryl ligands.