Cationic Pd(II)-catalyzed C-H activation/cross-coupling reactions at room temperature: synthetic and mechanistic studies.Beilstein J Org Chem. 2016; 12:1040-64.BJ
Cationic palladium(II) complexes have been found to be highly reactive towards aromatic C-H activation of arylureas at room temperature. A commercially available catalyst [Pd(MeCN)4](BF4)2 or a nitrile-free cationic palladium(II) complex generated in situ from the reaction of Pd(OAc)2 and HBF4, effectively catalyzes C-H activation/cross-coupling reactions between aryl iodides, arylboronic acids and acrylates under milder conditions than those previously reported. The nature of the directing group was found to be critical for achieving room temperature conditions, with the urea moiety the most effective in promoting facile coupling reactions at an ortho C-H position. This methodology has been utilized in a streamlined and efficient synthesis of boscalid, an agent produced on the kiloton scale annually and used to control a range of plant pathogens in broadacre and horticultural crops. Mechanistic investigations led to a proposed catalytic cycle involving three steps: (1) C-H activation to generate a cationic palladacycle; (2) reaction of the cationic palladacycle with an aryl iodide, arylboronic acid or acrylate, and (3) regeneration of the active cationic palladium catalyst. The reaction between a cationic palladium(II) complex and arylurea allowed the formation and isolation of the corresponding palladacycle intermediate, characterized by X-ray analysis. Roles of various additives in the stepwise process have also been studied.