Hyperpositive non-linear effects: enantiodivergence and modelling†
The chiral ligand N-methylephedrine (NME) was found to catalyse the addition of dimethylzinc to benzaldehyde in an enantiodivergent way, with a monomeric and a homochiral dimeric complex both catalysing the reaction at a steady state and giving opposite product enantiomers. A change in the sign of the enantiomeric product was thus possible by simply varying the catalyst loading or the ligand ee, giving rise to an enantiodivergent non-linear effect. Simulations using a mathematical model confirmed the possibility of such behaviour and showed that this can lead to situations where a reaction gives racemic products, although the system is composed only of highly enantioselective individual catalysts. Furthermore, depending on the dimer's degree of participation in the catalytic conversion, enantiodivergence may or may not be observed experimentally, which raises questions about the possibility of enantiodivergence in other monomer/dimer-catalysed systems. Simulations of the reaction kinetics showed that the observed kinetic constant kobs is highly dependent on user-controlled parameters, such as the catalyst concentration and the ligand ee, and may thus vary in a distinct way from one experimental setup to another. This unusual dependency of kobs allowed us to confirm that a previously observed U-shaped catalyst order vs. catalyst loading-plot is linked to the simultaneous catalytic activity of both monomeric and dimeric complexes.