Transmetalation from B to Rh in the course of the catalytic asymmetric 1,4-addition reaction of phenylboronic acid to enones: a computational comparison of diphosphane and diene ligands†
Transmetalation is a key elementary reaction of many important catalytic reactions. Among these, 1,4-addition of arylboronic acids to organic acceptors such as α,β-unsaturated ketones has emerged as one of the most important methods for asymmetric C–C bond formation. A key intermediate for the B-to-Rh transfer arising from quaternization on a boronic acid by a Rh-bound hydroxide (the active catalyst) has been proposed. Herein, DFT calculations (IEFPCM/PBE0/DGDZVP level of theory) establish the viability of this proposal, and characterize the associated pathways. The delivery of phenylboronic acid in the orientation suited for the B-to-Rh transfer from the very beginning is energetically preferable, and occurs with expulsion of Rh-coordinated water molecules. For the bulkier binap ligand, the barriers are higher (particularly for the phenylboronic acid activation step) due to a less favourable entropy term to the free energy, in accordance with the experimentally observed slower transmetalation rate.