The fluoro analogue of Wilkinson's catalyst and unexpected Ph-Cl activation

J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Mar 17;126(10):3068-9. doi: 10.1021/ja049844z.

Abstract

The fluoro analogue of Wilkinson's catalyst, [(Ph3P)3RhF] (1), was synthesized and fully characterized. Both solution behavior and solid-state geometry parameters of 1 were found to be surprisingly similar to those of Wilkinson's catalyst. Unlike Wilkinson's catalyst however, 1 exhibited most unusual reactivity toward the notoriously inert C-Cl bond of nonactivated chloroarenes. The novel Ph-Cl activation with 1 includes fluorine transfer from the metal to a phosphine ligand and evidently phenyl transfer from the phosphine to Rh to produce an electron-rich sigma-phenylrhodium intermediate.