The copper-catalyzed intermolecular enantioselective addition of styrenes to imines has been achieved under mild conditions at ambient temperature. This process features the use of styrenes as latent carbanion equivalents via the intermediacy of catalytically generated benzylcopper derivatives, providing an effective means for accessing highly enantiomerically enriched amines bearing contiguous stereo-centers. Mechanistic studies shed light on the origin of the preferential styrene hydrocupration in the presence of an imine with the Ph-BPE-derived copper catalyst.
“Copper-Catalyzed Enantioselective Addition of Styrene-Derived Nucleophiles to Imines Enabled by Ligand-Controlled Chemoselective Hydrocupration”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138(31), 9787-9790.