The ability of redox-active metal centers to weaken the bonds in associated ligands is well precedented, but has rarely been utilized as a mechanism of substrate activation in catalysis. Here we describe a catalytic bond-weakening protocol for conjugate amination wherein the strong N-H bonds in N-aryl amides (N-H bond dissociation free energies ∼100 kcal/mol) are destabilized by ∼33 kcal/mol upon by coordination to a reducing titanocene complex, enabling their abstraction by the weak H-atom acceptor TEMPO through a proton-coupled electron transfer process. Significantly, this soft homolysis mechanism provides a method to generate closed-shell, metalated nucleophiles under neutral conditions in the absence of a Bronsted base.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry