Photocatalytic reverse polarity Povarov reaction†
A visible light mediated iridium photocatalysed reverse polarity Povarov reaction of aryl imines and electron deficient alkenes is described. Operating via a putative nucleophilic α-amino radical, generated by a proton coupled electron transfer process, addition to a range of conjugated electron deficient alkene substrates affords substituted tetrahydroquinoline products in high yields and with typically good to excellent diastereoselectivity in favor of the trans diastereoisomer. Sub-stoichiometric quantities of Hantzsch ester were found to be key to initiate the overall redox-neutral, free radical cyclization cascade. This new reaction complements existing two electron Lewis acid mediated variants and expands the capabilities of imine umpolung chemistry to synthetically relevant cyclisation methodology.