The Cyclopropane Ring as a Reporter of Radical Leaving-Group Reactivity for Ni-Catalyzed C(sp3)–O Arylation

The ability to understand and predict reactivity is highly important for the development of new reactions. In the context of Ni-catalyzed C(sp3)–O functionalization, we have developed a unique strategy employing activated cyclopropanols to aid the design and optimization of a redox-active leaving group for C(sp3)–O arylation. In this chemistry, the cyclopropane ring acts as a reporter of leaving-group reactivity, since the ring-opened product is obtained under polar (2e) conditions, and the ring-closed product is obtained under radical (1e) conditions. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that the optimal leaving group is redox-active, and are consistent with a Ni(I)/Ni(III) catalytic cycle. The optimized reaction conditions are also used to synthesize a number of arylcyclopropanes, which are valuable pharmaceutical motifs.