Tetraarylphosphonium Salt-Catalyzed Synthesis of Oxazolidinones from Isocyanates and Epoxides

Preparation of a range of oxazolidinones, including enantioenriched N-aryl-substituted oxazolidinones, in which tetraarylphosphonium salts (TAPS) catalyze the [3 + 2] coupling reaction of isocyanates and epoxides effectively, is described. The key finding is a Brønsted acid/halide ion bifunctional catalyst that can accelerate epoxide ring opening with high regioselectivity. Mechanistic studies disclosed that the ylide generated from TAPS, along with the formation of halohydrins, plays a crucial role in the reaction with isocyanates.