Several types of chiral hetero- and carbocyclic compounds have been synthesized by using the asymmetric hydrogenation of cyclic alkenes. N,P-Ligated iridium catalysts reduced six-membered cyclic alkenes with various substituents and heterofunctionality in good to excellent enantioselectivity, whereas the reduction of five-membered cyclic alkenes was generally less selective, giving modest enantiomeric excesses. The stereoselectivity of the hydrogenation depended more strongly on the substrate structure for the five- rather than the six-membered cyclic alkenes. The major enantiomer formed in the reduction of six-membered alkenes could be predicted from a selectivity model and isomeric alkenes had complementary enantioselectivity, giving opposite optical isomers upon hydrogenation. The utility of the reaction was demonstrated by using it as a key step in the preparation of chiral 1,3-cis-cyclohexane carboxylates.
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