American Chemical Society
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Tropylium-Promoted Hydroboration Reactions: Mechanistic Insights Via Experimental and Computational Studies

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-17, 06:29 authored by Nhan N. H. Ton, Binh Khanh Mai, Thanh Vinh Nguyen
Hydroboration reaction of alkynes is one of the most synthetically powerful tools to access organoboron compounds, versatile precursors for cross-coupling chemistry. This type of reaction has traditionally been mediated by transition-metal or main group catalysts. Herein, we report a novel method using tropylium salts, typically known as organic oxidants and Lewis acids, to promote the hydroboration reaction of alkynes. A broad range of vinylboranes can be easily accessed via this metal-free protocol. Similar hydroboration reactions of alkenes and epoxides can also be efficiently catalyzed by the same tropylium catalysts. Experimental studies and DFT calculations suggested that the reaction follows an uncommon mechanistic pathway, which is triggered by the hydride abstraction of pinacolborane with tropylium ion. This is followed by a series of in situ counterion-activated substituent exchanges to generate boron intermediates that promote the hydroboration reaction.