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Regio- and Stereoselective Ring Opening of 2,3-Diaryl Oxiranes by LiBr/Amberlyst 15:  A New Stereocontrolled Access to 1,2-Diaryl-2-bromo Alcohols

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journal contribution
posted on 04.03.2005, 00:00 by Arlette Solladié-Cavallo, Paolo Lupattelli, Carlo Bonini
Both symmetrical and nonsymmetrical trans-2,3-diaryloxiranes are regio- and stereoselectively opened by the LiBr/Amberlyst 15 system. In the case of symmetrical trans-stilbene oxide, the syn- versus anti-bromohydrins ratio ranged between 88/12 and 30/70, by varying the reaction temperature from 20 to −30 °C. In the case of nonsymmetrical para-substituted trans-2,3-diaryloxiranes, the regioselectivity is determined by electronic effects. If one phenyl bears a strong electron-withdrawing group (as NO2 or CF3), the nucleophilic attack is totally on the β-carbon with respect to the substituted phenyl ring. With one phenyl bearing a strong electron-releasing group (OCH3), the regioselectivity is reversed. Ab initio calculation at the DFT/B3LYP/6-31G* level, run on protonated epoxide structures, supports the formation of a cationic acyclic intermediate. Application of the method on ortho-methoxy and ortho-nitro 2,3-diaryloxiranes afforded the syn-bromohydrins in excellent yield, via regio- and stereoselective opening at either α- or β-carbon, respectively.