Metalloradical Approach to 2H-Chromenes

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Cobalt(III)–carbene radicals, generated through metalloradical activation of salicyl N-tosylhydrazones by cobalt(II) complexes of porphyrins, readily undergo radical addition to terminal alkynes to produce salicyl–vinyl radical intermediates. Subsequent hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) from the hydroxy group of the salicyl moiety to the vinyl radical leads to the formation of 2H-chromenes. The Co(II)-catalyzed process can tolerate various substitution patterns and produces the corresponding 2H-chromene products in good isolated yields. EPR spectroscopy and radical-trapping experiments with TEMPO are in agreement with the proposed radical mechanism. DFT calculations reveal the formation of the salicyl–vinyl radical intermediate by a metalloradical-mediated process. Unexpectedly, subsequent HAT from the hydroxy moiety to the vinyl radical leads to formation of an o-quinone methide intermediate, which dissociates spontaneously from the cobalt center and easily undergoes an endocyclic, sigmatropic ring-closing reaction to form the final 2H-chromene product.

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Journal of the American Chemical Society, v. 136, issue 3, p. 1090-1096