Lewis acid catalyzed asymmetric halohydrin reactions-(halohydroxylation as well as halomethoxylation) of chiral α,β-unsaturated carboxylic acid derivatives were performed using N-halosuccinimide (NXS; X = Br, I) as the halogen source. Regio- and anti-selectivity of 100% and moderate to good diastereoselectivity with good yields were observed when Oppolzer's sultam was used as the chiral auxiliary. Among the Lewis acids, Yb(OTf)3was found to be the best catalyst. Alkenoyl and cinnamoyl substrates smoothly underwent bromohydrin reactions and the more electron-rich cinnamoyl substrates preferred to undergo iodohydrin reactions. However, electron-deficient cinnamoyl substrates did not respond to this Lewis acid catalyzed halohydrin reaction with NXS (X = Cl, Br, I). © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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