American Chemical Society
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Flexible Synthesis of Phenanthrenes by a PtCl2-Catalyzed Cycloisomerization Reaction

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journal contribution
posted on 2002-07-23, 00:00 authored by Alois Fürstner, Victor Mamane
Readily available biphenyl derivatives containing an alkyne unit at one of their ortho positions are converted into substituted phenanthrenes upon exposure to catalytic amounts of either PtCl2, AuCl3, GaCl3, or InCl3 in toluene. This 6-endo-dig cyclization likely proceeds through initial π-coordination of the alkyne unit followed by interception of the resulting η2-metal complex by the adjacent arene ring. The reaction is inherently modular, allowing for substantial structural variations and for the incorporation of substituents at any site of the phenanthrene product except C-9. Moreover, the reaction is readily applied to the heterocyclic series as exemplified by the preparation of benzoindoles, naphthothiophenes as well as bridgehead nitrogen heterocycles.