Mechanism of Pd/Senphos-Catalyzed trans-Hydroboration of 1,3-Enynes: Experimental and Computational Evidence in Support of the Unusual Outer-Sphere Oxidative Addition Pathway.J Org Chem. 2023 Feb 17; 88(4):2415-2424.JO
The reaction mechanism of the Pd/Senphos-catalyzed trans-hydroboration reaction of 1,3-enynes was investigated using various experimental techniques, including deuterium and double crossover labeling experiments, X-ray crystallographic characterization of model reaction intermediates, and reaction progress kinetic analysis. Our experimental data are in support of an unusual outer-sphere oxidative addition mechanism where the catecholborane serves as a suitable electrophile to activate the Pd-bound 1,3-enyne substrate to form a Pd-η-π-allyl species, which has been determined to be the likely resting state of the catalytic cycle. Double crossover labeling of the catecholborane points toward a second role played by the borane as a hydride delivery shuttle. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the rate-limiting transition state of the reaction is the hydride abstraction by the catecholborane shuttle, which is consistent with the experimentally determined rate law: rate = k[enyne][borane][catalyst]. The computed activation free energy ΔG[‡] = 17.7 kcal/mol and KIE (kH/kD = 1.3) are also in line with experimental observations. Overall, this work experimentally establishes Lewis acids such as catecholborane as viable electrophilic activators to engage in an outer-sphere oxidative addition reaction and points toward this underutilized mechanism as a general approach to activate unsaturated substrates.