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Tuning Rh(II)-Catalyzed Cyclopropanation with Tethered Thioether Ligands
preprintsubmitted on 05.08.2020, 22:54 and posted on 06.08.2020, 13:04 by Derek Cressy, Cristian Zavala, Anthony Abshire, William Sheffield, Ampofo Darko
Dirhodium(II) paddlewheel complexes have high utility in diazo-mediated cyclopropanation reactions and ethyl diazoacetate is one of the most commonly used diazo compounds in this reaction. In this study, we report our efforts to use tethered thioether ligands to tune the reactivity of Rh-carbene mediated cyclopropanation of olefins with ethyl diazoacetate. Microwave methods enabled the synthesis of a family of Rh-complexes in which tethered thioether moieties were coordinated to axial sites of the complex. Different tether lengths and thioether substituents were screened to optimize cyclopropane yeilds and minimize side product formation. Furthermore, good yields were obtained when equimolar diazo and olefin were used. Structural and spectroscopic investigation revealed that tethered thioethers changed the electronic structure of the rhodium core, which was instrumental in the performance of the catalysts. Computational modeling of the catalysts provided further support that the tethered thioethers were responsible for increased yields.