Metal-Bound or Free Ylides as Reaction Intermediates in Metal-Catalyzed [2,3]-Sigmatropic Rearrangements? It Depends.
Density functional theory calculations were applied to study four previously published metal-catalyzed [2,3]-rearrangements from onium ylide intermediates, in pursuit of generalizations about when, during these types of reactions, catalysts dissociate. Our results corroborate past studies where free ylide mechanisms were proposed to be operative. Calculations on case studies predict that the origin of metal-catalyst ‘falling off’ (dissociation) can be attributed primarily to the steric bulkiness of functional groups adjacent to the carbene carbon.