Mechanistic insight into conjugated N-N bond cleavage by Rh(III)-catalyzed redox-neutral C-H activation of pyrazolones.Org Biomol Chem. 2015 Aug 14; 13(30):8251-60.OB
Density functional theory (DFT) calculations have been performed to investigate the detailed mechanism of Rh(III)-catalyzed redox-neutral C-H activation of pyrazolones with PhC≡CPh. It is found that (1) the methylene C-H activation is prior to the phenyl C-H activation, (2) the N-N bond cleavage is realized via Rh(III) → Rh(I) → Rh(III) rather than via Rh(III) → Rh(V) → Rh(III). The zwitterionic Rh(I) complex is identified to be a key intermediate in promoting the N-N bond cleavage. (3) Different from the Rh(III)-catalyzed hydrazine-directed C-H activation for indole synthesis, the rate-determining step of the reaction studied in this work is the Rh(III) → Rh(I) → Rh(III) process resulting in the N-N bond cleavage rather than the alkyne insertion step. The present theoretical study provides new insight into the mechanism of the conjugated N-N bond cleavage.