Carbene-Metal Hydrides Can Be Much Less Acidic Than Phosphine-Metal Hydrides: Significance in Hydrogenations Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Acidities of iridium hydride intermediates were shown to be critical in some transformations mediated by the chiral analogues of Crabtree's catalyst, 1-3. To do this, several experiments were undertaken to investigate the acidities of hydrogenation mixtures formed using these iridium-oxazoline complexes. DFT calculations indicated that the acidity difference for Ir-H intermediates in these hydrogenations were astounding; iridium hydride from the N-heterocyclic carbene catalyst 1 was calculated to be around seven pK(a) units less acidic than those from the P-based complexes 2 and 3. Consistent with this, the carbene complex 1 was shown to be more effective for hydrogenations of acid-sensitive substrates. In deuteration experiments, less "abnormal" deuteration was observed, corresponding to fewer complications from acid-mediated alkene isomerization preceding the D(2)-addition step. Finally, simple tests with pH indicators provided visual evidence that phosphine-based catalyst precursors give significantly more acidic reaction mixtures than the corresponding N-heterocyclic carbene ones. These observations indicate carbene-for-phosphine (and similar) ligand substitutions may impact the outcome of catalytic reactions by modifying the acidities of the metal hydrides formed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhu, Y. e., Fan, Y., & Burgess, K.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010 11:11 AM