These are preliminary reports that have not been peer-reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or be reported in news media as established information. For more information, please see our FAQs.
Preprints are manuscripts made publicly available before they have been submitted for formal peer review and publication. They might contain new research findings or data. Preprints can be a draft or final version of an author's research but must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.
submitted on 09.09.2019 and posted on 10.09.2019by Lu Song, Niankai Fu, Brian G. Ernst, Wai-Hang Lee, Michael O. Frederick, Robert A. DiStasio Jr., Song Lin
Chiral nitriles and their derivatives are prevalent in pharmaceuticals and bioactive compounds. Enantioselective alkene hydrocyanation represents a convenient and efficient approach for synthesizing these molecules. However, a generally applicable method featuring a broad substrate scope and high functional group tolerance remains elusive. Here, we address this long-standing synthetic problem using an electrocatalytic strategy. Electrochemistry allows for the seamless combination of two classic radical reactions—cobalt-mediated hydrogen-atom transfer and copper-promoted radical cyanation—to accomplish highly enantioselective hydrocyanation without the need for stoichiometric oxidant. We harness electrochemistry’s unique feature of precise potential control to optimize the chemoselectivity of challenging substrates. Computational analysis sheds light on the origin of enantioinduction, for which the chiral catalyst imparts a combination of attractive and repulsive non-covalent interactions that direct the enantio-determining C–CN bond formation. This discovery demonstrates the power of electrochemistry in accessing new chemical space and providing solutions to pertinent challenges in synthetic chemistry.