New enantiopure binaphthyl-cinchona thiosquaramides: synthesis and application for enantioselective organocatalysis†
This work presents the first successful applications of cinchona-thiosquaramides in asymmetric reactions. Binaphthyl-cinchona squaramides and thiosquaramides were synthesised, and then used as organocatalysts to promote the catalytic enantioselective Michael addition reaction of pentane-2,4-dione to trans-β-nitrostyrene with excellent yields (up to 99%) and enantioselectivities (up to 99% ee) at as low as 0.2 mol% catalyst loadings. Thiosquaramides gave higher enantioselectivities (up to 92% ee) in conjugate addition reaction of lawsone to β,γ-unsaturated α-keto ester than its oxo analogue, with high yields (up to 100%). Also, only thiosquaramide could catalyse the aza-Diels–Alder addition reaction of 2-siloxydiene to benzylideneacetone. Furthermore, quantum chemical computations showed that the geometrical structure of binaphthyl-cinchona thiosquaramide is similar to that of squaramide.