Mechanistic Studies of Cobalt-Catalyzed C(sp2)-H Borylation of Five-Membered Heteroarenes with Pinacolborane

Jennifer V. Obligacion, Paul J. Chirik

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Studies into the mechanism of cobalt-catalyzed C(sp2)-H borylation of five-membered heteroarenes with pinacolborane (HBPin) as the boron source established the catalyst resting state as the trans-cobalt(III) dihydride boryl, (iPrPNP)Co(H)2(BPin) (iPrPNP = 2,6-(iPr2PCH2)2(C5H3N)), at both low and high substrate conversions. The overall first-order rate law and observation of a normal deuterium kinetic isotope effect on the borylation of benzofuran versus benzofuran-2-d1 support H2 reductive elimination from the cobalt(III) dihydride boryl as the turnover-limiting step. These findings stand in contrast to that established previously for the borylation of 2,6-lutidine with the same cobalt precatalyst, where borylation of the 4-position of the pincer occurred faster than the substrate turnover and arene C-H activation by a cobalt(I) boryl is turnover-limiting. Evaluation of the catalytic activity of different cobalt precursors in the C-H borylation of benzofuran with HBPin established that the ligand design principles for C-H borylation depend on the identities of both the arene and the boron reagent used: electron-donating groups improve catalytic activity of the borylation of pyridines and arenes with B2Pin2, whereas electron-withdrawing groups improve catalytic activity of the borylation of five-membered heteroarenes with HBPin. Catalyst deactivation by P-C bond cleavage from a cobalt(I) hydride was observed in the C-H borylation of arene substrates with C-H bonds that are less acidic than those of five-membered heteroarenes using HBPin and explains the requirement of B2Pin2 to achieve synthetically useful yields with these arene substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4366-4371
Number of pages6
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 7 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


  • C-H activation
  • borylation
  • cobalt
  • mechanism
  • pinacolborane


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