Watson in Science of Synthesis Asymmetric Organocatalysis 1: Lewis Base and Acid Catalysts
- A.J.B. a D.W.C. MacMillan
The reactions of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes with cyclopentadiene in the presence of diarylprolinol silyl ethers as catalyst proceed via iminium cations as intermediates, and can be divided into two types; one involving a Michael-type reaction (type A) and one involving a cycloaddition (type B). Diphenylprolinol silyl ethers and trifluoromethyl-substituted diarylprolinol silyl ethers, which are widely used proline-type organocatalysts, have been investigated in this study. As the LUMO of the iminium ion derived from trifluoromethyl-substituted diarylprolinol silyl ether is lower in energy than that derived from diphenylprolinol silyl ether, as supported by ab initio calculations, the trifluoromethyl-substituted catalyst is more reactive in a type B reaction. The iminium ion from an α,β-unsaturated aldehyde is generated more quickly with diphenylprolinol silyl ether than with the trifluoromethyl-substituted diarylprolinol silyl ether. When the generation of the iminium ion is the rate-determining step, the diphenylprolinol silyl ether catalyst is the more reactive. Because acid accelerates the generation of iminium ions and reduces the generation of anionic nucleophiles in the Michael-type reaction (type A), it is necessary to select the appropriate acid for specific reactions. In general, diphenylprolinol silyl ether is a superior catalyst for type A reactions, whereas the trifluoromethyl-substituted diarylprolinol silyl ether catalyst is preferred for type B reactions.