Efficient methods for the preparation of alkyl-aryl and symmetrical or unsymmetrical dialkyl ethers between alcohols and phenols or two alcohols by oxidation-reduction condensation

J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Jun 16;126(23):7359-67. doi: 10.1021/ja0487877.


Oxidation-reduction condensation via alkoxydiphenylphosphines (diphenylphosphinite esters) (1), generated in situ from chlorodiphenylphosphine (2) and alcohols, 2,6-dimethyl-1,4-benzoquinone (3), and phenols proceeds smoothly to afford alkyl-aryl ethers in good to high yields under neutral conditions. In a similar fashion, a new and efficient method for the preparation of symmetrical or unsymmetrical dialkyl ethers in good to high yields is established via tetrafluoro-1,4-benzoquinone (fluoranil) (4), alcohols, and 1 formed in situ from (n)BuLi-treated alcohols and 2. This method is applicable also to the etherification of chiral secondary or tertiary alcohols with retention or inversion of configurations. The inverted ethers are afforded by treating chiral alkoxydiphenylphosphines and achiral alcohols, while the reaction of achiral alkoxydiphenylphosphines and chiral alcohols forms retained ethers.