American Chemical Society
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Carbene-Assisted Arene Ring-Opening

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-01, 18:09 authored by Zengrui Cheng, Haoran Xu, Zhibin Hu, Minghui Zhu, K. N. Houk, Xiao-Song Xue, Ning Jiao
Despite the significant achievements in dearomatization and C–H functionalization of arenes, the arene ring-opening remains a largely unmet challenge and is underdeveloped due to the high bond dissociation energy and strong resonance stabilization energy inherent in aromatic compounds. Herein, we demonstrate a novel carbene assisted strategy for arene ring-opening. The understanding of the mechanism by our DFT calculations will stimulate wide application of bulk arene chemicals for the synthesis of value-added polyconjugated chain molecules. Various aryl azide derivatives now can be directly converted into valuable polyconjugated enynes, avoiding traditional synthesis including multistep unsaturated precursors, poor selectivity control, and subsequent transition-metal catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. The simple conditions required were demonstrated in the late-stage modification of complex molecules and fused ring compounds. This chemistry expands the horizons of carbene chemistry and provides a novel pathway for arene ring-opening.