The proposed research seeks to develop metal-catalyzed C?C and C?N bond-forming methodologies that streamline organic synthesis by leveraging the unique control that electrochemistry provides over electron trans- fer events. In particular, this work will develop synthetic methodologies based on dual-catalyst systems. One catalyst is electrochemically activated to mediate the formation of alkyl radicals, while a second catalyst selec- tively activates the complementary substrate to effect coupling with the electrogenerated radicals. The long-term goal of this program is to establish electrochemistry as a standard synthetic strategy in a way that complements the successful integration of photoredox catalysis into organic synthesis: another dual-catalyst system that relies on one catalyst to promote electron transfer and a second to mediate bond-forming reactions. The proposed research relies on the merger of multiple scientific fields to develop next-generation methodologies in organic synthesis. The Sevov team has a unique combination of expertise in synthetic methodology, mecha- nistic organometallic chemistry, and homogeneous electrochemistry that will lead to new synthetic strategies that impact both the rate of discovery and large-scale synthesis of new therapeutic agents. These strategies and the targeted transformations of the proposal are summarized below: Goal 1. to develop C?C and C?N coupling reactions with alkyl electrophiles: Electrochemically-driven cross-coupling will be developed using a dual-catalyst system that allows each substrate to be activated by a distinct catalyst. Dedicated electrocatalysts will be developed that mediate formation of alkyl radicals from alkyl halides or ethers/epoxides. The radical intermediates will be intercepted and functionalized by co-catalysts that exclusively (i) activate aryl chlorides and ethers to form alkyl arenes, (ii) mediate C?N coupling from high-valent complexes to form amines, or (iii) utilize chiral nonracemic ligands to enable enantioselective C?C/N coupling. Goal 2. to develop C(sp3)?H bond alkylation/arylation and amination: Aliphatic C?H bond activation will be accomplished via directed H-atom abstraction (HAA) from a tethered aryl radical. Aryl radicals will be generated by electroreduction of Ni(II)aryl intermediates to form low-valent organonickel(I) complexes that are susceptible to Ni?C bond homolysis. Radical relay by HAA from the aryl directing group to the alkyl side-chain provides access to an activated aliphatic site for C?X coupling. Goal 3. to develop decarboxylative functionalization of carboxylic acids: The first of two complementary approaches will investigate pulsed-electrolysis techniques to enable decarboxylation at potentials that are mild and compatible with catalysts for selective C-C/N/X of the resulting alkyl radicals. A second approach will utilize electrocatalysts that are photoactive upon oxidation at mild potentials. Photoexcitation of the oxidized species will transiently generate a high energy oxidant that can effect oxidative decarboxylation to form alkyl radicals.
The following research proposal will develop broadly-applicable strategies for new synthetic-organic meth- odologies that are particularly suited for the preparation or late-stage modification of natural products and phar- maceuticals. These synthetic strategies all rely on electrical energy as a means to (i) promote challenging ? but desirable ? reactions, (ii) eliminate the need for expensive or hazardous reagents, and (iii) reduce the synthetic steps required to access the target molecules. As a result of streamlining synthesis, these findings will accelerate the identification of new therapeutics and allow their preparation on large scale with lower costs to the public.