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Synthesis of novel tetrahydroisoquinoline chiral ligands for application in asymmetric transfer hydrogenation.

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Several tetrahydroisoquinoline (TIQ) diamine derivatives were prepared for use as ligands in asymmetric transfer hydrogenation (ATH) of acetophenone of which 17 intermediates and the eight target ligands were novel compounds. The initial design followed that of Noyori, who presented the efficiency of his monotosylated diamine in ATH. A series of eight novel secondary amine derivatives (78a-g and 88) were prepared with substituents that influenced the electronics and the sterics of and around the nitrogen donor. Ligand 71 was shown to have no activity for the ATH of acetophenone. It was apparent from experimental observations that a balance between the electronic and steric characteristics of the substituent was necessary to facilitate activity. It was found that ligand 78d possessing a benzyl group, had the greatest activity (81 % conv.). The greatest selectivity was obtained with ligand 78f (77 % ee) having a chiral phenylmethyl substituent. It was discovered in the case of the active diamine ligands that an optimised 1500 equivalents of water was required in order to demonstrate any enantioselectivity. The exact role of the water has never been ascertained, although there are many publications in which the effect of water has been examined. The most active metal precursor was also investigated and [RhCl2(Cp*)]2 was found to be the best for these TIQ diamine ligands in the specified model reactions. This work has recently been accepted for publication and has established criteria for further rational design on this system.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, 2010.


Tetrahydroisoquinolines., Heterocyclic compounds., Asymmetric synthesis., Theses--Chemistry.