A well-defined (POCOP)Rh catalyst for the coupling of aryl halides with thiols.
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This article describes a well-defined pincer-Rh catalyst for C-S cross-coupling reactions. (POCOP)Rh(H)(Cl) serves as an active precatalyst for the coupling of aryl chlorides and bromides with aryl and alkyl thiols under reasonable conditions (3% mol cat., 110 C, 2-24 h, >90% yield). For select substrates, >90% yields were obtained with catalyst loading as low as 0.1%. Key mechanistic intermediates have been isolated and fully characterized, including (POCOP)Rh(Ph)(SPh) (6a) and (POCOP)Rh(SPh2) (6b). The aryl/bis(phosphinite) (POCOP)Rh system has been shown to favor aryl thiolate reductive elimination at elevated temperatures and in some cases at room temperature, compared with the analogous diarylamido/bis(phosphine) (PNP)Rh pincer system. Concerted reductive elimination has been studied with 6a directly and in the presence of aryl bromide and aryl chloride traps. This investigation demonstrates a clear rate dependence on aryl chloride concentration during catalysis, a dependence that is absent when using aryl bromides. The rate of catalysis is dramatically reduced or brought to zero for ortho-tolyl halides, which can be traced to slower C-S coupling and slower carbon-halogen oxidative addition for ortho-substituted aryls. The influence of the sterics in the thiol component is less straightforward. The S-H oxidative addition product (POCOP)Rh(H)(SPh) (16) has been fully characterized and its reactivity has been examined, resulting in the isolation of the sodium-thiolate adduct (POCOP)Rh(NaSPh) (19). The solid-state structure of 19 shows Na interactions not only with sulfur, but also with a neighboring Rh and the chelating aryl carbon of the pincer framework. The reactivity of 16 and 19 indicates that these potential side products should not hinder catalysis.