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Pure Appl. Chem., 2004, Vol. 76, No. 3, pp. 589-601

Coordination of the Trost modular ligand to palladium allyl fragments: Oligomers, monomers and memory effects in catalysis

G. C. Lloyd-Jones, S. C. Stephen, I. J. S. Fairlamb, Aina Martorell, Beatriz Dominguez, P. M. Tomlin, M. Murray, J. M. Fernandez, J. C. Jeffery, T. Riis-Johannessen and Toufik Guerziz

The Bristol Centre for Organometallic Catalysis, School of Chemistry, The University of Bristol, Cantock ’s Close, Bristol, BS8 1TS, UK

Abstract: Reaction of the C2-symmetric "Trost modular ligand" with cationic Pd(II) allyl fragments allows isolation of air- and bench-stable pro-catalysts for the asymmetric allylic alkylation of racemic cycloalkenyl esters. In solution, three distinct complexation modes are observed. When mixed in a ligand/Pd ratio of 1/2, a binuclear bis-P,O-chelate complex is generated. This species does not induce enantioselectivity in the reaction. In contrast, with a ligand/Pd ratio of 1/1, a highly enantioselective, P,P-coordinated pro-catalyst system is generated in which there are two basic coordination modes: monomeric and oligomeric. The monomeric form is mononuclear and exists as two 13-membered chelates, isomeric through loss of C2-symmetry in the ligand. The oligomeric form is polynuclear and forms chains and rings of alternating ligand and cationic Pd(allyl) units, one of which was identified by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. In solution, the monomeric and oligomeric species are in dynamic equilibrium with populations and interconversion rates controlled by concentration, temperature, and counterion. Isotopic desymmetrization analysis suggests that the monomer-oligomer equilibrium plays a crucial role in both the selectivity and efficiency of the asymmetric allylic alkylation reaction.