Selecting Chiral BINOL-derived Phosphoric Acid Catalysts: General Model to Identify Steric Features Essential For Enantioselectivity

26 Sep 2017

Choosing the optimal catalyst for a new transformation is challenging because the ideal molecular requirements of the catalyst for one reaction do not always simply translate to another. Large groups at the 3,3' positions of the binaphthol rings are important for efficient stereoinduction but if they are too large this can lead to unusual or poor results. By applying a quantitative steric assessment of the substituents at the 3,3' positions of the binaphthol ring, we have systematically studied the effect of modulating this group on enantioselectivity for a wide range of reactions involving imines, and verified this analysis using ONIOM calculations. We have shown that in most reactions, the stereochemical outcome depends on both proximal and remote sterics. Summarising detailed calculations into a simple qualitative model identifies and explains the steric features required for high selectivity. This model is consistent with seventy-seven papers reporting reactions (over 1000 transformations in total), and provides a straightforward decision tree for selecting the best catalyst.