ASYMMETRIC CATALYSIS: Ligand-accelerated enantioselective methylene C(sp3)-H bond activation

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Effective differentiation of prochiral carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds on a single methylene carbon via asymmetric metal insertion remains a challenge. Here, we report the discovery of chiral acetyl-protected aminoethyl quinoline ligands that enable asymmetric palladium insertion into prochiral C-H bonds on a single methylene carbon center. We apply these palladium complexes to catalytic enantioselective functionalization of β-methylene C-H bonds in aliphatic amides. Using bidentate ligands to accelerate C-H activation of otherwise unreactive monodentate substrates is crucial for outcompeting the background reaction driven by substrate-directed cyclopalladation, thereby avoiding erosion of enantioselectivity. The potential of ligand acceleration in C-H activation is also demonstrated by enantioselective β-C-H arylation of simple carboxylic acids without installing directing groups.

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