Systematic Evaluation of 1,2-Migratory Aptitude in Alkylidene Carbenes

Harvey Dale, Chris Nottingham, Carl Poree, Guy Lloyd-Jones (Corresponding)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alkylidene carbenes undergo rapid inter- and intramolecular reactions and rearrangements, including 1,2-migrations of β-substituents to generate alkynes. Their propensity for substituent migration exerts profound influence over the broader utility of alkylidene carbene intermediates, yet prior efforts to categorize 1,2-migratory aptitude in these elusive species have been hampered by disparate modes of carbene generation, ultrashort carbene lifetimes, mechanistic ambiguities, and the need to individually prepare a series of 13C-labeled precursors. Herein we report on the rearrangement of 13C-alkylidene carbenes generated in situ by the homologation of carbonyl compounds with [13C]-Li-TMS-diazomethane, an approach that obviates the need for isotopically labeled substrates and has expedited a systematic investigation (13C{1H} NMR, DLPNO-CCSD(T)) of migratory aptitudes in an unprecedented range of more than 30 alkylidene carbenes. Hammett analyses of the reactions of 26 differentially substituted benzophenones reveal several counterintuitive features of 1,2-migration in alkylidene carbenes that may prove of utility in the study and synthetic application of unsaturated carbenes more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2097-2107
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


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