Catalytic C-H activation and hydroamination represent two important strategies for eco-friendly chemical synthesis with high atom efficiency and reduced waste production. Combining both C-H activation and hydroamination in a cascade process, preferably with a single catalyst, would allow rapid access to valuable nitrogen-containing molecules from readily available building blocks. Here we report a single metal catalyst-based approach for N-heterocycle construction by tandem C-H functionalization and alkene hydroamination. A simple catalyst system of cationic rhodium(I) precursor and phosphine ligand promotes redox-neutral [4+2] annulation between N-H aromatic ketimines and internal alkynes to form multi-substituted 3,4-dihydroisoquinolines (DHIQs) in high chemoselectivity over competing annulation processes, exclusive cis-diastereoselectivity, and distinct regioselectivity for alkyne addition. This study demonstrates the potential of tandem C-H activation and alkene hydrofunctionalization as a general strategy for modular and atom-efficient assembly of six-membered heterocycles with multiple chirality centres.
Manan, R. S., & Zhao, P. (2016). Merging rhodium-catalysed C-H activation and hydroamination in a highly selective [4+2] imine/alkyne annulation. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11506