In situ generated bulky palladium hydride complexes as catalysts for the efficient isomerization of olefins. Selective transformation of terminal alkenes to 2-alkenes

J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Jun 16;132(23):7998-8009. doi: 10.1021/ja9108424.


Application of an in situ generated bulky palladium(II) hydride catalyst obtained from a 1:1:1 mixture of Pd(dba)(2), P(tBu)(3), and isobutyryl chloride provides an efficient protocol for the isomerization and migration of a variety of olefins. In addition to the isomerization of (Z)- to (E)-olefins, the conjugative migration of allylbenzenes, allyl ethers, and amines was effectively achieved in near-quantitative yields and with excellent functional group tolerance. Catalyst loadings in the range of 0.5-1.0 mol % were typically applied, but even loadings as low as 0.25 mol % could be achieved when the reactions were performed under neat conditions. More interestingly, the investigated catalyst proved to be selective for converting terminal alkenes to 2-alkenes. This one-carbon migration process for monosubstituted olefins provides an alternative catalyst, which bridges the gap between the allylation and propenylation/vinylation protocols. Several substrates, including homoallylic alcohols and amines, were selectively transformed into their corresponding 2-alkenes, and examples using enantiomerically enriched substrates provided products without epimerization at the allylic stereogenic carbon centers. Finally, some mechanistic investigations were undertaken to understand the nature of the active in situ generated Pd-H catalyst. These studies revealed that the catalytic system is highly dependent on the large steric demand of the P(tBu)(3) ligand. The use of an alternative ligand, cataCXium PinCy, also proved effective for generating an active catalyst, and it was demonstrated in some cases to display better selectivity for the one-carbon shifts of terminal olefins. A possible intermediate involved in the preparation of the active catalyst was characterized by its single-crystal X-ray structure, which revealed a monomeric tricoordinated palladium(II) acyl complex, bearing a chloride ligand.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkenes / chemistry*
  • Carbon / chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Palladium / chemistry*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Thermodynamics


  • Alkenes
  • palladium hydride
  • Palladium
  • Carbon