Gadolinium Photocatalysis: Dearomative [2+2] Cycloaddition/Ring-Expansion Sequence with Indoles

Ma, J.; Schäfers, F.; Daniliuc, C. G.; Bergander, K.; Strassert, C. A.; Glorius, F.

Research article (journal)


Abstract Lanthanide photocatalysts are much less investigated in synthetic chemistry than rare and expensive late transition metals. We herein introduce GdIII photocatalysis of a highly regioselective, intermolecular [2+2] photocycloaddition/ring-expansion sequence with indoles, which could provide divergent access to cyclopenta[b]indoles and indolines. A simple and commercially available Gd(OTf)3 salt is sufficient for this visible-violet-light-induced transformation. The reaction proceeds either through a transient or start-to-end dearomatization cascade and shows excellent regioselectivity (usually >95:5 r.r.), broad scope (59 examples), good functional group tolerance and facile scale-up under mild, direct visible-light-excitation conditions. Mechanistic investigations reveal that direct excitation of the Gd(OTf)3/indole mixture gives an excited state intermediate, which undergoes the subsequent [2+2] cycloaddition and cyclobutane-expansion cascade.

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Release year: 2020
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish
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