Iron catalysts with N-ligands for carbene transfer of diazo reagents
Transition-metal-catalyzed carbene transfer reactions, involving diazo compounds and their precursors, are powerful tools for creating new C–C bonds. Depending on the involved catalytic system, the carbene insertion can efficiently be driven towards a specific functional group for the synthesis of a wide portfolio of fine chemicals. The present report is focused on the catalytic activity of iron catalysts in promoting alkene cyclopropanations, C–H and X–H (X = N, O, S, Se, Si, Sn, Ge) functionalizations. Porphyrin, porphyrinoid and non-heme iron complexes are discussed by analyzing experimental studies and theoretical calculations performed for proposing reaction mechanisms. The catalytic activity of artificial iron biocatalysts is also briefly reported in order to underline the similarities and differences between reaction mechanisms mediated by modified biocatalysts and synthetic catalysts. This review summarizes the achievements made in this field since 2006.