Low-valent late transition-metal catalysis has become indispensable to chemical synthesis, but homogeneous high-valent transition-metal catalysis is underdeveloped, mainly owing to the reactivity of high-valent transition-metal complexes and the challenges associated with synthesizing them. Here we report a carbon–carbon bond cleavage at ambient conditions by a Au(i) complex that generates a stable Au(iii) cationic complex. In contrast to the well-established soft and carbophilic Au(i) catalyst, this Au(iii) complex exhibits hard, oxophilic Lewis acidity. For example, we observed catalytic activation of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes towards selective conjugate additions as well as activation of an unsaturated aldehyde-allene for a [2 + 2] cycloaddition reaction. The origin of the regioselectivity and catalytic activity was elucidated by X-ray crystallographic analysis of an isolated Au(iii)-activated cinnamaldehyde intermediate. The concepts revealed suggest a strategy for accessing high-valent transition-metal catalysis from readily available precursors.
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We gratefully acknowledge the NIHGMS (RO1 GM073932) for financial support. C.-Y.W. thanks the Taiwan National Science Council for a postdoctoral fellowship (2011-2012). T.H. thanks the Uehara Memorial Foundation for a postdoctoral fellowship. C.B.J. is grateful to the Lundbeck Foundation for a postdoctoral fellowship. We thank A. DiPasquale (at the College of Chemistry X-ray Crystallography Facility of the University of California, Berkeley) for X-ray crystallographic data collection and we acknowledge support from the NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant S10-RR027172. We thank H.-J. Liu for his generous donation of the biphenylene.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
X-ray crystallographic data have been deposited in the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre database (http://www.ccdc.cam.ac.uk/) under code CCDC 1002525-1002527.
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Wu, CY., Horibe, T., Jacobsen, C. et al. Stable gold(III) catalysts by oxidative addition of a carbon–carbon bond. Nature 517, 449–454 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14104
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