We have developed a new dialkylbiaryl monophosphine ligand, GPhos, that supports a palladium catalyst capable of promoting carbon–nitrogen cross-coupling reactions between a variety of primary amines and aryl halides; in many cases these reactions can be carried out at room temperature. The reaction development was guided by the idea that the productivity of catalysts employing BrettPhos-like ligands is limited by their lack of stability at room temperature. Specifically, it was hypothesized that primary amine and N-heteroaromatic substrates can displace the phosphine ligand, leading to the formation of catalytically dormant palladium complexes that reactivate only upon heating. This notion was supported by the synthesis and kinetic study of a putative off-cycle Pd complex. Consideration of this off-cycle species, together with the identification of substrate classes that are not effectively coupled at room temperature using previous catalysts, led to the design of a new dialkylbiaryl monophosphine ligand. An Ot-Bu substituent was added ortho to the dialkylphosphino group of the ligand framework to increase stability of the most active catalyst conformer. To offset the increased size of this substituent, we also removed the parai-Pr group of the non-phosphorous-containing ring, which allowed the catalyst to accommodate binding of even very large α-tertiary primary amine nucleophiles. Compared to previous catalysts, the GPhos-supported catalyst exhibits better reactivity both under ambient conditions and at elevated temperatures. Its use also allows for the coupling of a range of amine nucleophiles, including: (1) unhindered, (2) five-membered-ring N-heterocycle-containing, and (3) α-tertiary primary amines, each of which previously required a different catalyst to achieve optimal results.
“Development of an Aryl Amination Catalyst with Broad Scope Guided by Consideration of Catalyst Stability”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 15027-15037.