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1,3-Chlorine Shift to a Vinyl Cation: A Combined Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of the E-Selective Gold(I)-Catalyzed Dimerization of Chloroacetylenes

Kreuzahler, Mathis, Daniels, Alyssa, Wölper, Christoph, Haberhauer, Gebhard
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 v.141 no.3 pp. 1337-1348
alkynes, catalytic activity, cations, dimerization, gold, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, stereoselectivity
Metal-catalyzed dimerization reactions of terminal acetylenes are well known in the literature. However, only a few examples of the dimerization of halogen-substituted acetylenes are described. The products of the latter metal-catalyzed dimerization are the branched head-to-tail enynes. The formation of the corresponding linear head-to-head enynes has not been reported yet. Herein, we demonstrate by means of quantum chemical methods and experiments that the head-to-head dimerization of chloroarylacetylenes can be achieved via mono gold catalysis. Under the optimized conditions, a clean and complete conversion of the starting materials is observed and the dimeric products are obtained up to 75% NMR yield. A mechanistic investigation of the dimerization reaction reveals that the branched head-to-tail vinyl cation is energetically more stable than the corresponding linear head-to-head cation. However, the latter can rearrange by an unusual 1,3-chlorine shift, resulting in the highly stereoselective formation of the trans product, which corresponds to the gold complex of the head-to-head E-enyne. The activation barrier for this rearrangement is extremely low (ca. 2 kcal/mol). As the mono gold-catalyzed dimerization can be conducted in a preparative scale, this simple synthesis of trans-1,2-dichloroenynes makes the gold(I)-catalyzed head-to-head dimerization of chloroarylacetylenes an attractive method en route to more complex conjugated enyne systems and their congeners.