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Insights on Absolute and Relative Stereocontrol in Stereodivergent Cooperative Catalysis

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journal contribution
posted on 18.05.2020, 17:06 by Avtar Changotra, Bangaru Bhaskararao, Christopher M. Hadad, Raghavan B. Sunoj
An increasing number of examples demonstrate that the use of two mutually compatible chiral catalysts in one-pot conditions can help realize the long-cherished goal of simultaneous control of absolute and relative configurations in asymmetric catalysis. Engaging two transition metal catalysts for this goal presents a considerable degree of mechanistic challenge to control the mode of substrate activation as well as origin of enantio- and diastereoselectivities, both of which are central to the burgeoning domain of stereodivergent catalysis. We have employed density functional theory (B3LYP-D3) computations to investigate an important stereodivergent reaction between azaaryl acetamide and cinnamyl methyl carbonate. These compounds participate in the stereocontrolling C–C bond formation in the form of activated substrates, respectively, when bound to chiral Cu-Walphos and Ir-phosphoramidite catalysts. Herein, we provide the molecular origin of how all four stereoisomers of the product bearing two contiguous stereogenic centers could be accessed by changing the combinations of chiral catalysts (C1(R,Rp) or C2(S,Sp) of Cu-Walphos in conjunction with P1(R,R,R) or P2(S,S,S) of Ir-phosphoramidite catalysts). The origin of stereodivergence is identified to depend on the differences in the number and nature of noncovalent interactions (NCIs) in the stereocontrolling transition states. In particular, NCIs between the chiral catalysts (C–H···π in C1P1 catalyst dyad and C–H···π, C–H···F, and π···π in C2P1) in stereocontrolling transition states are found to be the differentiating factors rendering one of the four stereochemically distinct transition states to be the lowest energy one for a given catalyst combination. These molecular insights suggest that subtle modifications to the catalyst framework could be further exploited in stereodivergent catalysis.