Mechanism of the Pinacol Rearrangement of Thiele Cage Diols Over a C(sp3)-C(sp3) Bond




Burman, Austin

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In our previous publication of Thiele cage diols, we describe the first pinacol rearrangement to occur over a C(sp3)–C(sp3). Two mechanisms were initially proposed: a concerted mechanism and a stepwise mechanism, proceeding through a carbocation intermediate. Interestingly, the rearrangement provides only a single diastereomer. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the nature of the reaction by measuring the relative rates of reaction with varying substituents that either stabilize or impede the formation of carbocations. From the relative rates, we can narrow in on whether the mechanism is stepwise or concerted, based on substituent effects, and determine how the reaction may provide a single diastereomer. In Chapter 1, the pinacol rearrangement is introduced, and each analogue that followed after, including stereoselective pinacol rearrangements and a series of different semipinacol rearrangements that provide useful synthetic pathways for chemists with desirable stereochemical outcomes. In Chapter 2, we describe the isolation and characterization of two analogues of a key side product. The structure of each analogue was determined through a series of spectroscopic techniques including 1H-1H COSY, HSQC, HMBC, and 1D-selective gradient NOE NMR. From the solved structures, we proposed a possible mechanism to describe their formation during the main rearrangement reaction – one that shares a carbocation intermediate with the stepwise mechanism already proposed. In Chapter 3, we prepared five Thiele cage diol analogues with aryl substituents with different electronic properties: two substituents that stabilize carbocation intermediates (p-OCH3 and p-CH3), two that destabilize (p-F and 3,5-diOCH3), and the base tetraphenyl Thiele cage diol. We measured the rates of reaction of each diol with p-toluenesulfonic acid at 25°C, 35°C, 45°C, and 52°C via variable temperature quantitative 1H-NMR over time. From the rates of reaction, we found that diols with carbocation-stabilizing aryl substituents reacted faster than the destabilizing analogues, providing evidence that the rearrangement proceeds through a carbocation intermediate. We also found that the diols with electron-deficient aryl substituents showed an increase in the entropy of activation with increasing electron-deficiency in the aryl groups, suggesting an associative pathway for the electron-deficient substituents toward the rearrangement product. Considering the pathway proposed for the side product, we propose an updated stepwise mechanism. Based on computational studies and a previously-isolated X-ray crystal structure, we determined that the diastereoselectivity of the reaction was facilitated by favourable π-π stacking interactions between two aryl substituents. The interaction of the aryl groups twists the geometry of the molecules, placing the migrating aryl substituent in the ideal position for the rearrangement to occur stereoselectively.



Organic Chemistry, Pinacol Rearrangement, Kinetics, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Structure Elucidation, Mechanism of Reaction