Remarkable Enhancement of the Enantioselectivity of an Organocatalyzed Asymmetric Henry Reaction Assisted by Helical Poly(phenylacetylene)s Bearing Cinchona Alkaloid Pendants via an Amide Linkage

A series of novel helical poly­(phenylacetylene)­s bearing amino-functionalized cinchona alkaloid pendant groups connecting to the phenyl rings through an amide linkage were prepared by the polymerization of the corresponding phenylacetylenes using a rhodium catalyst. All of the polymers formed a preferred-handed helical conformation biased by the optically active pendants, resulting in the induced circular dichroism in their π-conjugated polymer backbone regions. The optically active helical polymers efficiently catalyzed the asymmetric Henry reaction of benzaldehydes with nitromethane, giving optically active products up to 94% enantiomeric excess (ee) when the poly­(phenylacetylene) bearing an amino-functionalized quinine pendant group was used as the polymeric organocatalyst; the enantioselectivity was remarkably higher than those catalyzed by the corresponding nonhelical poly­(phenylacetylene) (18% ee) and the monomer (28% ee).