Sequence of reactant combination alters the course of the Staudinger reaction of azides with acyl derivatives. Bimanes. 30

Deborah E. Shalev, Stella M. Chiacchiera, Annette E. Radkowsky, Edward M. Kosower*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The Staudinger reaction of azides has now been followed by NMR and other spectroscopic techniques. syn-(Azidomethyl,methyl)(methyl,methyl)(bimane (1) and Ph3P form a triazaphosphadiene intermediate 2 and then the bimane P-triphenyliminophosphorane 3. The iminophosphorane reacts with an acyl chloride to yield an iminophosphonium salt 4 which then forms the oxazaphosphetane 13. The latter undergoes an electrocyclic reversion to form the phosphine oxide and the chloroimines 7E and 7Z, the last being hydrolyzed to the (acylamido)bimane 6. This set of reactions constitutes the "iminophosphorane pathway". A significant diversion of the reaction path to an (N-alkylamino)-phosphonium chloride 8 occurs through reaction of 4 with H2O present in the CDCl3 and through reaction of 3 with HCl. A different azide (α-azido-o-xylene 1b) produces the (acylamido)-o-xylene as the sole product. A less sterically hindered phosphine (tri-2-furylphosphine) reacts more slowly to form the iminophosphorane 3a from the azidobimane 1. Reaction of the bimane P-tri-2-furyliminophosphorane with acyl chloride gives only the (acylamido)bimane 6. If the acyl chloride is mixed with 1, followed by addition of the Ph3P, the triazaphosphadiene adduct 5 is formed via the triazaphosphadiene. The adduct 5 is converted rapidly into a six-membered cyclic compound 11. The latter either loses nitrogen to yield 6 via 7Z and 7E and the phosphine oxide or loses chloride 10 through a novel chloride-induced elimination reaction from its protonated form. The change in procedure thus results in a dramatic change in the reaction pathway, a reaction set that constitutes the "triazaphosphadiene adduet pathway". In the case of α-azido-o-xylene, α-chloro-o-xylene (10b) is the only product. The reactions of the azides 1 or 1b with tri-2-furylphosphine also produce chlorides as the major products accompanied by some acetamido derivatives. The nucleophile-induced reaction explains a "surprising result" (formation of ester rather than amide) reported by Sahlberg et al. (Sahlberg, C.; Jackson, A. M.; Claesson, A. Acta Chem. Scand. 1988, B42, 556-562). The intramolecular "aza-Wittig" reaction may depend on the nucleophilicity of the triazaphosphadiene. A comprehensive mechanistic scheme for the Staudinger reaction of azides is conveniently divided into the following: (A) formation of the triazaphosphadiene (Scheme 1), (B) reactions of the triazaphosphadiene (Scheme 2), and (C) reactions via the iminophosphorane (Scheme 3). Some approximate kinetic parameters are reported for some of the reactions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1689-1701
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 8 Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


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