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Evaluating the thermal vinylcyclopropane rearrangement (VCPR) as a practical method for the synthesis of difluorinated cyclopentenes: experimental and computational studies of rearrangement stereospecificity.

Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) (2014-09-13)
David Orr, Jonathan M Percy, Tell Tuttle, Alan R Kennedy, Zoë A Harrison
ABSTRACT

Vinyl cyclopropane rearrangement (VCPR) has been utilised to synthesise a difluorinated cyclopentene stereospecifically and under mild thermal conditions. Difluorocyclopropanation chemistry afforded ethyl 3-(1'(2'2'-difluoro-3'-phenyl)cyclopropyl) propenoate as all four stereoisomers (18a, 18b, 22a, 22b) (all racemic). The trans-E isomer (18a), prepared in 70 % yield over three steps, underwent near quantitative VCPR to difluorocyclopentene 23 (99 %). Rearrangements were monitored by (19) F NMR (100-180 °C). While cis/trans cyclopropane stereoisomerisation was facile, favouring trans-isomers by a modest margin, no E/Z alkene isomerisation was observed even at higher temperatures. Neither cis nor trans Z-alkenoates underwent VCPR, even up to much higher temperatures (180 °C). The cis-cyclopropanes underwent [3,3]-rearrangement to afford benzocycloheptadiene species. The reaction stereospecificity was explored by using electronic structure calculations, and UB3LYP/6-31G* methodology allowed the energy barriers for cyclopropane stereoisomerisation, diastereoisomeric VCPR and [3,3]-rearrangement to be ranked in agreement with experiment.

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