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Issue 22, 2010
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The reaction of primary aromatic amines with alkylene carbonates for the selective synthesis of bis-N-(2-hydroxy)alkylanilines: the catalytic effect of phosphonium-based ionic liquids

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Abstract

At T ≥ 140 °C, different primary aromatic amines (pX–C6H4NH2; X = H, OCH3, CH3, Cl) react with both ethylene- and propylene-carbonates to yield a chemoselective N-alkylation process: bis-N-(2-hydroxyalkyl)anilines [pX–C6H4N(CH2CH(R)OH)2; R = H, CH3] are the major products and the competitive formation of carbamates is substantially ruled out. At 140 °C, under solventless conditions, the model reaction of aniline with ethylene carbonate goes to completion by simply mixing stoichiometric amounts of the reagents. However, a class of phosphonium ionic liquids (PILs) such as tetraalkylphosphonium halides and tosylates turn out to be active organocatalysts for both aniline and other primary aromatic amines. A kinetic analysis monitored by 13C NMR spectroscopy, shows that bromide exchanged PILs are the most efficient systems, able to impart a more than 8-fold acceleration to the reaction. The reactions of propylene carbonate take place at a higher temperature than those of ethylene carbonate, and only in the presence of PIL catalysts. A mechanism based on the Lewis acidity of tetraalkylphosphonium cations and the nucleophilicity of halide anions has been proposed to account for both the reaction chemoselectivity and the function of the catalysts.

Graphical abstract: The reaction of primary aromatic amines with alkylene carbonates for the selective synthesis of bis-N-(2-hydroxy)alkylanilines: the catalytic effect of phosphonium-based ionic liquids

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 May 2010, accepted on 07 Jul 2010 and first published on 15 Sep 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0OB00105H
Citation: Org. Biomol. Chem., 2010,8, 5187-5198
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    The reaction of primary aromatic amines with alkylene carbonates for the selective synthesis of bis-N-(2-hydroxy)alkylanilines: the catalytic effect of phosphonium-based ionic liquids

    M. Selva, M. Fabris, V. Lucchini, A. Perosa and M. Noè, Org. Biomol. Chem., 2010, 8, 5187
    DOI: 10.1039/C0OB00105H

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