Benzyne in synthesis: a search for palladium catalysed three-component couplings
It is over 100 years since scientists first postulated the existence of arynes as reactive intermediates. Their use in organic synthesis is now well-established and investigations into novel methods for their generation and utility in carbon-carbon bond forming reactions continue to this day. In 1983 Kobayashi and co-workers introduced a novel method of generating benzyne under mild conditions, using a fluoride induced decomposition of 2-(trimethylsilyl)phenyl triflate 1. This development has opened the door to employing arynes in a variety of transitionmetal mediated carbon-carbon bond forming processes. Intermolecular carbopalladation, in particular, stands out as a powerful methodology for the construction of diverse 1,2-functionalised arenes through multi-component coupling processes. Initial benzyne carbopalladation with an organopalladium species produces the arylpalladium intermediate 3, which can then undergo a second coupling to any one of the vast numbers of nucleophiles that have been demonstrated to work in palladium cross coupling. Presented herein are investigations towards the realisation of such methodology. Initial efforts focussed on its application to the Heck reaction, using acryates as the nucleophilic component. The chemistry has been developed to incorporate a variety of organo-halides in order to generate a variety of molecular architectures; the resultant 1,2-substituted diaryls being useful in the synthesis of both natural products and medicinal chemistry targets. Following successful development of the Heck reaction, investigations of other palladium catalysed couplings were also undertaken, in particular the Buchwald reaction. Initial mechanistic studies are also discussed.