Heterogeneous Palladium-Catalyzed Synthesis of Aromatic Ethers by Solvent-Free Dehydrogenative Aromatization: Mechanism, Scope, and Limitations Under Aerobic and Non-Aerobic Conditions



Starting from cyclohexanone derivatives and alcohols, both non-aromatic precursors, aryl ethers could be synthesized in good yields and with good selectivities in the presence of a catalytic amount of Pd/C, in one step, without added solvent, in a reaction vessel open to air. For less reactive substrates, the addition of 1-octene in a closed system under non-aerobic conditions improved the conversion. In addition, the catalyst could be recycled several times with no decrease in the yield of the aryl ether. The process was also used with tetralone derivatives and polyols. Several reactions were performed to propose a mechanism for this transformation. The formation of an enol ether followed by a dehydrogenation reaction seem to be the key steps of this reaction.