Skillinghaug B, Sköld C, Rydfjord J, Svensson F, Behrends M, Sävmarker J, Sjöberg PJ, Larhed M
J. Org. Chem. 79 (24) 12018-12032 [2014-12-19; online 2014-10-31]
A fast and efficient protocol for the palladium(II)-catalyzed production of aryl ketones from sodium arylsulfinates and various organic nitriles under controlled microwave irradiation has been developed. The wide scope of the reaction has been demonstrated by combining 14 sodium arylsulfinates and 21 nitriles to give 55 examples of aryl ketones. One additional example illustrated that, through the choice of the nitrile reactant, benzofurans are also accessible. The reaction mechanism was investigated by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and DFT calculations. The desulfitative synthesis of aryl ketones from nitriles was also compared to the corresponding transformation starting from benzoic acids. Comparison of the energy profiles indicates that the free energy requirement for decarboxylation of 2,6-dimethoxybenzoic acid and especially benzoic acid is higher than the corresponding desulfitative process for generating the key aryl palladium intermediate. The palladium(II) intermediates detected by ESI-MS and the DFT calculations provide a detailed understanding of the catalytic cycle.