We report the efficient N-arylation of acyclic secondary amides and related nucleophiles with aryl nonaflates, triflates, and chlorides. This method allows for easy variation of the aromatic component in tertiary aryl amides. A new biaryl phosphine with P-bound 3,5-(bis)trifluoromethylphenyl groups was found to be uniquely effective for this amidation. The critical aspects of the ligand were explored through synthetic, mechanistic, and computational studies. Systematic variation of the ligand revealed the importance of (1) a methoxy group on the aromatic carbon of the "top ring" ortho to the phosphorus and (2) two highly electron-withdrawing P-bound 3,5-(bis)trifluoromethylphenyl groups. Computational studies suggest the electron-deficient nature of the ligand is important in facilitating amide binding to the LPd(II)(Ph)(X) intermediate.
“Pd-Catalyzed N-Arylation of Secondary Acyclic Amides: Catalyst Development, Scope, and Computational Study”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131(46), 16720-16734.