Ni-catalyzed cross-electrophile coupling reactions have emerged as appealing methods to construct organic molecules without the use of stoichiometric organometallic reagents. The mechanisms are complex: Plausible pathways, such as "radical chain" and "sequential reduction" mechanisms, are dependent on the sequence of the activation of electrophiles. A combination of kinetic, spectroscopic, and organometallic studies reveals that a Ni-catalyzed, reductive 1,2-dicarbofunctionalization of alkenes proceeds through a "sequential reduction" pathway. The reduction of Ni by Zn is the turnover-limiting step, consistent with Ni(II) intermediates as the catalyst resting-state. Zn is only sufficient to reduce (phen)Ni(II) to a Ni(I) species. As a result, commonly proposed Ni(0) intermediates are absent under these conditions. (Phen)Ni(I)-Br selectively activates aryl bromides via two-electron oxidation addition, whereas alkyl bromides are activated by (phen)Ni(I)-Ar through single-electron activation to afford radicals. These findings could provide insight into achieving selectivity between different electrophiles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry