Substitution effects in intramolecular furan cycloadditions
Rae, Robert Lammie
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The intramolecular Diels-Alder reaction of furan (IMDAF) provides a high degree of structural complexity in one step. However, reaction reversibility issues and the lower reactivity of furan in comparison to non-aromatic dienes prevent more widespread use of furan as a diene component in such reactions. Initial efforts to develop a new mode of organocatalysis which we hoped would facilitate IMDAF reaction was unfortunately unsuccessful, thus alternative means of IMDAF facilitation were investigated. For the first time, a comprehensive synthetic and computational study of the effect of halogen substitution on the IMDAF reaction has been undertaken. We have successfully demonstrated that halogenation of the furan moiety facilitates the IMDAF reaction (displaying increased reactivity to the non-halogenated analogue, regardless of halogen position), whereas dienophile halogenation hinders it. Additionally, careful selection of the position of the halogen on the furan can somewhat overcome the detrimental effect of having a halogen on the dienophile leading to highly functionalised cycloadducts with potential for further modification. Computational data produced by Martin Paterson and Justyna McKinlay support the idea that frontier molecular orbital effects cannot explain the experimental observations and we thus believe that the reactions are controlled by the interplay of three factors: positive charge stabilisation in the transition state and product, steric effects and a dipolar interaction term identified by the high level calculations. Finally, we have briefly demonstrated that nitro groups on the furan moiety also facilitate the IMDAF reaction whereas acyl groups appear to hinder the reaction. STEREOCHEMICAL ABSTRACT Any chiral compounds included in this thesis are racemic in nature. However, for clarity, such mixtures are schematically represented by drawings of only one of the enantiomers.