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Keywords:

  • homogeneous catalysis;
  • hydroboration;
  • imines;
  • magnesium;
  • main group elements

Abstract

The β-diketiminato magnesium alkyl complex [LMgnBu] (L=CH{CMe(NDipp)}2, Dipp=diisopropylphenyl) is shown to be a highly effective precatalyst for the hydroboration of alkyl and aryl substituted aldimines and ketimines with pinacol borane (HBpin). Catalysis is proposed to occur through a sequence of Mg[BOND]N/B[BOND]H metathesis and rate-determining Mg[BOND]H/N[DOUBLE BOND]C insertion steps, a proposal strongly supported by stoichiometric studies and kinetic analysis. The reactions are observed to proceed through the intermediacy of well-defined magnesium amides, two examples of which have been isolated and structurally characterized. Mechanistic investigations suggest that the catalytic rate-determining process occurs at an isolated magnesium center and requires the presence of two molecules of the imine substrate for effective turnover. This latter observation is rationalized as a requirement for the secondary substrate molecule to displace HBpin from the coordination sphere of the catalytic magnesium center.