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Combined Theoretical and Experimental Studies Unravel Multiple Pathways to Convergent Asymmetric Hydrogenation of Enamides

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journal contribution
posted on 14.12.2021, 20:35 by Jianping Yang, Luca Massaro, Suppachai Krajangsri, Thishana Singh, Hao Su, Emanuele Silvi, Sudipta Ponra, Lars Eriksson, Mårten S. G. Ahlquist, Pher G. Andersson
We present a highly efficient convergent asymmetric hydrogenation of E/Z mixtures of enamides catalyzed by N,P–iridium complexes supported by mechanistic studies. It was found that reduction of the olefinic isomers (E and Z geometries) produces chiral amides with the same absolute configuration (enantioconvergent hydrogenation). This allowed the hydrogenation of a wide range of E/Z mixtures of trisubstituted enamides with excellent enantioselectivity (up to 99% ee). A detailed mechanistic study using deuterium labeling and kinetic experiments revealed two different pathways for the observed enantioconvergence. For α-aryl enamides, fast isomerization of the double bond takes place, and the overall process results in kinetic resolution of the two isomers. For α-alkyl enamides, no double bond isomerization is detected, and competition experiments suggested that substrate chelation is responsible for the enantioconvergent stereochemical outcome. DFT calculations were performed to predict the correct absolute configuration of the products and strengthen the proposed mechanism of the iridium-catalyzed isomerization pathway.