Ruthenium-catalyzed hydrogen transfer involving amines and imines : Mechanistic studies and synthetic applications

Abstract: This thesis deals with ruthenium-catalyzed hydrogen transfer involving amines and imines and is divided into two parts. In Part 1 a mechanistic study has been performed. The complexation of the imine to the catalyst and the decomplexation patterns of the formed ruthenium-amine complexes, isotope studies, and exchange studies show that the mechanism of the hydrogen transfer involving amines and imines is different from the hydrogen transfer involving alcohols and carbonyls.In Part 2 synthetic applications of the hydrogen transfer is presented. First the rutheniumcatalyzed transfer hydrogenation of imines by 2-propanol in an unpolar solvent was investigated. The corresponding amines were isolated in good to excellent yields. Even imines bearing labile functional groups were smoothly transferred to amines with very low catalyst loadings and short reaction times employing microwave heating. Then the reverse reaction, transfer dehydrogenation of amines to imines, was investigated using either MnO2 or oxygen as terminal oxidant. Important products such as aldimines, ketimines, and non benzylic anilines were prepared in the aerobic oxidation. We also demonstrated that the aerobic oxidation is compatible with proline-mediated organocatalysis, yielding amines in high yields and ee:s. Finally the racemization of chiral amines was investigated. A cumbersome side product formation was investigated and hampered by the use of a mild hydrogen donor, giving a mild and efficient racemization process for both primary and secondary amines.