The tripodal compounds [(TMG3trphen)MII-solv](PF6)2 (M = Mn, Fe, Co; solv = MeCN, DMF) and bipodal analogues [(TMG2biphen)MII(NCMe)x](PF6)2 (x = 3 for Mn, Fe; x = 2 for Co) and [(TMG2biphen)MIICl2] have been synthesized with ligands that feature a triaryl- or diarylmethyl-amine framework and superbasic tetramethylguanidinyl residues (TMG). The dicationic M(II) sites mediate catalytic nitrene-transfer reactions between the imidoiodinane PhI═NTs (Ts = tosyl) and a panel of styrenes in MeCN to afford aziridines and low yields of imidazolines (upon MeCN insertion) with an order of productivity that favors the bipodal over the tripodal reagents and a metal preference of Fe > Co ≥ Mn. In CH2Cl2, the more acidic Fe(II) sites favor formation of 2,4-diaryl-N-tosylpyrrolidines by means of an in situ (3 + 2) cycloaddition of the initially generated 2-aryl-N-tosylaziridine with residual styrene. In the presence of ketone, 1,3-oxazolidines can be formed in practicable yields, involving a single-pot cycloaddition reaction of alkene, nitrene, and ketone (2 + 1 + 2). Mechanistic studies indicate that the most productive bipodal Fe(II) site mediates stepwise addition of nitrene to olefins to generate aziridines with good retention of stereochemistry and further enables aziridine ring opening to unmask a 1,3-zwitterion that can undergo cycloaddition with dipolarophiles (MeCN, alkene, ketone) to afford five-membered N-heterocycles.




National Institutes of Health, Grant R15GM117508

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1520-510X; 0020-1669

Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2023 American Chemical Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

10 Jul 2023

PubMed ID