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Donor-Activated Lithiation and Sodiation of Trifluoromethylbenzene: Structural, Spectroscopic, and Theoretical Insights

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Bill CleggORCiD, Dr Luca Russo


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Aiming to shed new light on the stability and constitution of the organometallic intermediates involved in direct ortho-metalation processes, using trifluoromethylbenzene (1) as a case study, this paper investigates the deprotonation of 1 using group 1 alkyl bases (BuLi)-Bu-t and (BuNa)-Bu-n in the presence of the Lewis donors TMEDA (N,N,N',N'-tetramethylethylenediamine), THF, and PMDETA (N,N,N',N '',N ''-pentamethyldiethylenetriamine). A systematic and comprehensive study combining structural, spectroscopic, and theoretical studies reveals that these donors strongly influence the final outcome of the reactions, not only by activating the alkali-metal bases and facilitating deprotonation of 1 but also by tuning the regioselectivity of the reaction. Thus, while using (BuLi)-Bu-t/TMEDA, ortho-metalation of 1 is preferred, switching to THF gives a complex mixture of products with the meta-regioisomer being the major species crystallizing from hexane solution. This donor effect is significantly reduced when (BuNa)-Bu-n is employed, as ortho-regioselectivity is observed almost exclusively using THF, TMEDA, or PMDETA. DFT calculations computing the relative energies of the ortho-, meta-, and para-regioisomers obtained from these metalating systems have also been carried out. Reinforcing the experimental findings, these theoretical studies show that although in all cases the product of ortho-metalation is the most thermodynamically preferred, the energy difference between the three possible modeled regioisomers is much larger for the Na systems than for the Li ones. The structures of key reaction intermediates [(TMEDA)center dot Li(C6H4-CF3)](2) (2), [(TMEDA)center dot Na(C6H4-CF3)](2) (3), and [(PMDETA)center dot Na(C6H4-CF3)](2) (4) have been elucidated by X-ray crystallographic studies. All compounds exhibit a similar dimeric arrangement with a four-atom core constituting a {MCMC} ring. Interestingly for Na derivatives 3 and 4 unusual Na center dot center dot center dot F dative interactions are found, which appear to contribute to the overall stability of these compounds, therefore favoring ortho-metalation of 1, as the meta or para structures do not contain these additional interactions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Garden JA, Armstrong DR, Clegg W, Garcia-Alvarez J, Hevia E, Kennedy AR, Mulvey RE, Robertson SD, Russo L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organometallics

Year: 2013

Volume: 32

Issue: 19

Pages: 5481-5490

Print publication date: 14/10/2013

Online publication date: 16/09/2013

ISSN (print): 0276-7333

ISSN (electronic): 1520-6041

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/om4007664


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