The expansion of molecular diversity beyond what nature can produce is a fundamental objective in chemical sciences. Despite the rich chemistry of boron-containing heterocycles, the 1,3-dioxa-5-aza-2,4,6-triborinane (DATB) ring system, which is characterized by a six-membered B3NO2 core, remains elusive. Here, we report the synthesis of m-terphenyl-templated DATB derivatives, displaying high stability and peculiar Lewis acidity arising from the three suitably arranged boron atoms. We identify a particular utility for DATB in the dehydrative amidation of carboxylic acids and amines, a reaction of high academic and industrial importance. The three boron sites are proposed to engage in substrate assembly, lowering the entropic cost of the transition state, in contrast with the operative mechanism of previously reported catalysts and amide coupling reagents. The distinct mechanistic pathway dictated by the DATB core will advance not only such amidations, but also other reactions driven by multisite activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)