Mechanism and Stereoselectivity of Asymmetric Hydrogenation

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Science  30 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4558, pp. 401-407
DOI: 10.1126/science.217.4558.401


Rhodium complexes containing chiral phosphine ligands catalyze the hydrogenation of olefinic substrates such as α-aminoacrylic acid derivatives, producing chiral products with very high optical yields. Elucidation of the mechanisms of such reactions leads to the conclusion that the stereoselection is dictated not by the preferred initial binding of the substrate to the chiral catalyst, but rather by the much higher reactivity of the minor diastereomer of the catalyst-substrate adduct corresponding to the less favored binding mode.