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Theoretical investigation on the mechanism of Cu(II)-catalyzed synthesis of 4-quinolones: effects of additives HOTf vs. HOTs

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Abstract

A computational study with the B3LYP density functional is carried out to explore the effects of additives (HOTf vs. HOTs) on the Cu(OTf)2-catalyzed synthesis of 4-quinolones. The optimal reaction path includes intermolecular nucleophilic addition (Step I), a H+-transfer process (Step II), intramolecular nucleophilic cyclization (Step III) and the elimination/formation process of MeOH (Step IV). The usage of Cu(OTf)2 as the catalyst significantly promotes Step I and Step III. More importantly, the additive HOTf can not only play the role of the proton-transfer shuttle to assist H+-shift by the stepwise proton-transport process in Step II and Step IV, but also can act as the hydrogen-bond donor to facilitate the intramolecular cyclization between C1 and C5 in Step III. Due to the assistance of HOTf, the rate-determining free energy barrier of the Cu(II)-catalyzed reaction is greatly reduced from 167.8 to 135.0 kJ mol−1, which explains the experimental phenomena well (0% vs. 89% in yield). Interestingly, the hydrogen-bond donor/proton-donor ability of the additives (HOTf vs. HOTs) is found to be the primary factor that critically affects the catalytic activity of the additives in the present Cu(II)-catalyzed reactions. For the additives of sulfonic acid type HO3S-R (R: –CF3 vs. –PhCH3), the use of a strong electron-withdrawing group –CF3 is advantageous for the additive-assisted reactions. In a word, the present study is expected to help one understand the influence of additives on transition metal-catalyzed reactions including the ring-closed process and the proton-transfer process.

Graphical abstract: Theoretical investigation on the mechanism of Cu(ii)-catalyzed synthesis of 4-quinolones: effects of additives HOTf vs. HOTs

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Jan 2019, accepted on 11 Feb 2019 and first published on 12 Feb 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9NJ00082H
Citation: New J. Chem., 2019, Advance Article

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    Theoretical investigation on the mechanism of Cu(II)-catalyzed synthesis of 4-quinolones: effects of additives HOTf vs. HOTs

    B. Yuan, X. Guo, G. Wang, H. Huang, F. Zhang, J. Xu and R. He, New J. Chem., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9NJ00082H

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