Annulation of Aromatic Imines via Directed C−H Bond Activation

A directed C−H bond activation approach to the synthesis of indans, tetralins, dihydrofurans, dihydroindoles, and other polycyclic aromatic compounds is presented. Cyclization of aromatic ketimines and aldimines containing alkenyl groups tethered at the <i>meta</i> position relative to the imine directing group has been achieved using (PPh<sub>3</sub>)<sub>3</sub>RhCl (Wilkinson's catalyst). The cyclization of a range of aromatic ketimines and aldimines provides bi- and tricyclic ring systems with good regioselectivity. Different ring sizes and substitution patterns can be accessed through the coupling of monosubstituted, 1,1- or 1,2-disubstituted, and trisubstituted alkenes bearing both electron-rich and electron-deficient functionality.