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Computational Studies of Tungsten-Catalyzed endo-Selective Cycloisomerization of 4-Pentyn-1-ol

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journal contribution
posted on 20.03.2002, 00:00 by Yinghong Sheng, Djamaladdin G. Musaev, K. Subba Reddy, Frank E. McDonald, Keiji Morokuma
Endo- and exo-cycloisomerizations of 4-pentyn-1-ol have been studied computationally with density functional theory, in conjunction with double-ζ and triple-ζ basis sets, both in the absence and in the presence of tungsten carbonyl catalyst. In the absence of the catalyst, both endo- and exo-cycloisomerizations have been calculated to have a very high activation barrier of ∼50−55 kcal/mol and cannot take place. With tungsten pentacarbonyl catalyst, endo-cycloisomerization becomes a complex multiple-step reaction and proceeds with a rate-determining barrier of 26 kcal/mol at the Cα → Cβ hydride migration step to form a vinylidene intermediate. The primary role of the tungsten catalyst is to stabilize the vinylidene intermediate, thus lowering the rate-determining barrier. The second important role of the tungsten catalyst in endo-cycloisomerization is to assist the OH hydride migration to Cα by making it a multistep process with small activation barriers. The exo-cycloisomerization with the catalyst still has a high rate-determining barrier of 47 kcal/mol. These findings clearly explain the experimentally observed endo-selectivity in the cycloisomerization of 4-pentyn-1-ol derivatives and support the experimentally proposed mechanism.