General Catalyst Control of the Monoisomerization of 1‑Alkenes to trans-2-Alkenes

After searching for the proper catalyst, the dual challenges of controlling the position of the double bond, and cis/trans-selectivity in isomerization of terminal alkenes to their 2-isomers are finally met in a general sense by mixtures of (C5Me5)Ru complexes 1 and 3 featuring a bifunctional phosphine. Typically, catalyst loadings of 1 mol % of 1 and 3 can be employed for the production of (E)-2-alkenes at 40–70 °C. Catalyst comprising 1 and 3 avoids more than any other known example the thermodynamic equilibration of alkene isomers, as the trans-2-alkenes of both nonfunctionalized and functionalized alkenes are generated.