A rare-earth metal/alkali metal bimetallic catalyst proved particularly effective for enantioselectively coupling nitroalkanes and α-keto esters in an anti-selective manner to afford synthetically versatile, densely functionalized, and optically active α-nitro tertiary alcohols. A chiral diamide ligand captured two distinct metal cations, giving rise to a catalytically competent solid-phase heterobimetallic catalyst by simple mixing via self-assembly. The advantage of the solid-phase asymmetric catalyst was realized by successful application to the enantio- and diastereoselective reaction in a continuous-flow platform. The use of closely related solvents in terms of structures and polarity parameters, THF and its methylated congener 2-Me-THF, had an unexpectedly large solvent effect both on the reaction rate and the stereoselectivity. The nitroaldol products share a privileged unit for active pharmaceutical ingredients, as demonstrated by the streamlined enantioselective synthesis of the marketed antifungal agents efinaconazole and albaconazole.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry