Mechanistic studies of the rhodium-catalyzed direct C-H amination reaction using azides as the nitrogen source.J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Feb 12; 136(6):2492-502.JA
Direct C-H amination of arenes offers a straightforward route to aniline compounds without necessitating aryl (pseudo)halides as the starting materials. The recent development in this area, in particular in the metal-mediated transformations, is significant with regard to substrate scope and reaction conditions. Described herein are the mechanistic details on the Rh-catalyzed direct C-H amination reaction using organic azides as the amino source. The most important two stages were investigated especially in detail: (i) the formation of metal nitrenoid species and its subsequent insertion into a rhodacycle intermediate, and (ii) the regeneration of catalyst with concomitant release of products. It was revealed that a stepwise pathway involving a key Rh(V)-nitrenoid species that subsequently undergoes amido insertion is favored over a concerted C-N bond formation pathway. DFT calculations and kinetic studies suggest that the rate-limiting step in the current C-H amination reaction is more closely related to the formation of Rh-nitrenoid intermediate rather than the presupposed C-H activation process. The present study provides mechanistic details of the direct C-H amination reaction, which bears both aspects of the inner- and outer-sphere paths within a catalytic cycle.