Synthesis and evaluation of novel tetrahydroisoquinoline organocatalysts in asymmetric catalysis.
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Organocatalysis has rapidly expanded in the last decade to encompass a wide variety of small organic molecules that are capable of either activating substrates or transforming them into more reactive forms. The aim of this study was to develop novel chiral organocatalysts based on the tetrahydroisoquinoline backbone and evaluate them on asymmetric reactions. Three organocatalytic modes of activation have been investigated for C-C bond forming asymmetric reactions. In chapter 2, for the first time organocatalysts bearing a secondary nitrogen within a cyclohexane ring were evaluated in the asymmetric Diels–Alder reaction. These catalysts were tested over a range of dienes and dienophiles and displayed promising chemical conversions of up to 100 % with up to 64 % ee when triflic acid was employed as the cocatalyst. Density functional theory computational studies and 2D NMR spectroscopy were used to determine the structure of the intermediate iminium ion formed between the most efficient catalyst and cinnamaldehyde. Chapter 3 includes a series of novel tetrahydroisoquinoline chiral N-oxide organocatalysts and their evaluation in the asymmetric allylation reaction of aromatic and α-β-unsaturated aldehydes with allyltrichlorosilane. The chiral homoallyl products were obtained with good chemical efficiency (up to 93 % yield) and high enantioselectivity (up to 91 % ee) under mild reaction conditions (23 °C). Chapter 4 is the simple and practical microwave-assisted synthesis of new tetrahydroisquinoline guanidine organocatalysts and their evaluation in the asymmetric Michael addition reaction of malonates and β-ketoesters with nitro-olefins. In addition, a novel microwave assisted procedure of introducing the guanidine unit onto amino amide derivatives is reported. The chiral products were obtained with quantitative chemical efficiency (up to 99 % yield) and excellent enantioselectivity (up to 97 % ee). Chapter 5 is a collection of all X-ray crystal structures that were published from novel compounds synthesized pertaining to Chapters 2-4, it contains 15 published crystal structures while Chapters 3-4 contain 3 other X-ray crystal structures. It should be noted that with the exception of the introduction and Chapter 4 (submitted for publication), the remaining chapters of this thesis have been published in international peer reviewed journals. In the next section (DECLARATION 2 – PUBLICATIONS) a precise description of my contribution to each of the publications/chapters is provided.