Palladium(II)-Catalysed Heck and Addition Reactions Exploring Decarboxylative and Desulfitative Processes
Abstract: Palladium complexes have the ability to catalyse cross-coupling of two organic moieties through the formation of transient metal-carbon bonds, thus bringing them closer to each other to facilitate the formation of a new bond. Palladium-catalysed coupling reactions are one of the most important carbon-carbon forming reactions available to organic chemists and many of these reactions rely on the reactivity of aryl-palladium complexes. The investigation of new aryl-palladium precursors is thus of great interest, especially as more sustainable and economic methods can be developed.This thesis describes the use of carboxylic acids and sodium arylsulfinates as such new arylating agents. Protocols for microwave-assisted palladium(II)-catalysed decarboxylative synthesis of electron-rich styrenes and 1,1-diarylethenes were developed. However, these transformations had very limited substrate scopes which prompted the investigation of sodium arylsulfinates as alternative arylating agents. These substrates were employed in the microwave-assisted palladium(II)-catalysed desulfitative addition to nitriles, and the substrate scope was demonstrated by combining a wide array of sodium arylsulfinates and nitriles to yield the corresponding aryl ketones. The application of the desulfitative reaction in a continuous flow setup was demonstrated, and aluminium oxide was identified as safe alternative to borosilicate glass as a reactor material. The mechanisms of the decarboxylative and desulfitative transformations were investigated by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The desulfitative reaction was also investigated by direct electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), providing further mechanistic insight. Finally, a protocol for the safe and convenient synthesis of a wide range of sodium arylsulfinates was developed.
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