Theses Doctoral

The Development of Novel N-Heterocyclic Carbenes and Tools for Assessing Structural Variation Effects Upon Catalyst Reactivity

Muñoz, Alberto

N-Heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) are an important class of compounds responsible for a wide variety of chemical transformations. NHCs may be used as organocatalysts that permit non-traditional carbon carbon bond formations due to their renowned ability to invert the electrophilic character of aldehyde carbonyl groups, a concept otherwise known as polarity reversal or umpolung reactivity. Despite their ubiquity with respect to accessing the umpolung of aldehydes, fundamental studies of these reactive species are still rather limited and narrow in scope. As a result, clarifying and solving problems relevant to umpolung-themed asymmetric catalysis becomes quite challenging. In this regard, our work has been focused on a three-pronged approach towards providing a more unified understanding of these complex catalytic systems. First, we describe the synthesis of unprecedented carboxylate-tethered triazolium NHCs and use them in the intramolecular Stetter reaction to understand their function. Second, we describe the acidities of a broad range of both chiral and achiral NHCs that have never had their acidities assessed before and use them to construct the first linear free-energy relationships of their kind. Finally, we develop a simple and noninvasive experimental protocol in which we can quickly benchmark the performance of a series of chiral catalysts by way of single competition experiments. We anticipate that these studies will have direct implications on the development of novel NHC-catalyzed reactions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Rovis, Tomislav
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 5, 2018