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Density Functional Theory Study on the H2‑Acceptorless Dehydrogenative Boration of Alkenes Catalyzed by a Zirconium Complex

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-29, 20:21 authored by Yulan Dai, Binfang Yuan, Zhewei Li, Lin Zhang, Longfei Li, Min Pu, Ming Lei
For the synthesis of vinyl boronate esters, the direct catalytic H2-acceptorless dehydrogenative boration of alkenes is one of the promising strategies. In this paper, the density functional theory method was employed to investigate the reaction mechanism of dehydrogenative boration and transfer boration of alkenes catalyzed by a zirconium complex (Cp2ZrH2). There are two possible pathways for this reaction: the alkene insertion followed by the dehydrogenative boration (path A) and the alkene insertion after the dehydrogenative boration (path B). The calculated results showed that path A is more favorable than path B, and that the rate-determining step is the C–B coupling step with an energy barrier of 18.7 kcal/mol. The reaction modes of the C–B coupling assisted dehydrogenative boration and the alkene insertion were also discussed. These analyses reveal a novel hydrogen release behavior in dehydrogenative boration and the alkene insertion modes and sequences were proposed to be of importance in the chemoselectivity of this reaction. In addition, the X ligand effect (X = H, Cl) on the catalytic activity of the zirconium complex was explored, indicating that the H ligand could enhance the catalytic activity of the complex for styrene dehydrogenative boration.