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Enantioselective Organocatalysis Using SOMO Activation

Science  27 Apr 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5824, pp. 582-585
DOI: 10.1126/science. 1142696

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Abstract

The asymmetric α-addition of relatively nonpolar hydrocarbon substrates, such as allyl and aryl groups, to aldehydes and ketones remains a largely unsolved problem in organic synthesis, despite the wide potential utility of direct routes to such products. We reasoned that well-established chiral amine catalysis, which activates aldehydes toward electrophile addition by enamine formation, could be expanded to this important reaction class by applying a single-electron oxidant to create a transient radical species from the enamine. We demonstrated the concept of singly occupied molecular orbital (SOMO) activation with a highly selective α-allylation of aldehydes, and we here present preliminary results for enantioselective heteroarylations and cyclization/halogenation cascades.

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