Understanding the Mechanism of the Divergent Reactivity of Non-Heteroatom-Stabilized Chromium Carbene Complexes with Furfural Imines: Formation of Benzofurans and Azetines
journal contributionposted on 22.01.2016, 00:00 by Ignacio Funes-Ardoiz, Jairo González, Javier Santamaría, Diego Sampedro
The mechanisms of the reaction between non-heteroatom-stabilized alkynyl chromium carbene complexes prepared in situ and furfural imines to yield benzofurans and/or azetines have been explored by means of density functional theory method calculations. The reaction proceeds through a complex cascade of steps triggered by a nucleophilic addition of the imine nitrogen atom. The formation of two benzofuran regioisomers has been explained in terms of competitive nucleophilic attacks to different positions of the carbene complex. Each of these regioisomers can be obtained as the major product depending on the starting materials. The overall sequence could be controlled to yield benzofurans or azetines by adjusting the substituents present in the initial carbene complex. This mechanistic information allowed for the preparation of new benzofurans and azetinylcarbenes in good yields.