Chiral Fullerenes from Asymmetric Catalysis



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Maroto, Enrique E. and Izquierdo, Marta and Reboredo, Silvia and Marco-Martínez, Juan and Filippone, Salvatore and Martín, Nazario (2014) Chiral Fullerenes from Asymmetric Catalysis. Accounts of chemical research, 47 (8). pp. 2660-2670. ISSN 0001-4842 (Print) , 1520-4898 (Online)

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Fullerenes are among the most studied molecules during the last three decades, and therefore, a huge number of chemical reactions have been tested on these new carbon allotropes. However, the aim of most of the reactions carried out on fullerenes has been to afford chemically modified fullerenes that are soluble in organic solvents or even water in the search for different mechanical, optical, or electronic properties. Therefore, although a lot of effort has been devoted to the chemical functionalization of these molecular allotropes of carbon, important aspects in the chemistry of fullerenes have not been properly addressed. In particular, the synthesis of chiral fullerenes at will in an efficient manner using asymmetric catalysis has not been previously addressed in fullerene science. Thus, despite the fact that the chirality of fullerenes has always been considered a fundamental issue, the lack of a general stereoselective synthetic methodology has restricted the use of enantiopure fullerene derivatives, which have usually been obtained only after highly expensive HPLC isolation on specific chiral columns or prepared from a pool of chiral starting materials. In this Account, we describe the first stereodivergent catalytic enantioselective syntheses in fullerene science, which have allowed the highly efficient synthesis of enantiomerically pure derivatives with total control of the stereochemical result using metallic catalysts and/or organocatalysts under very mild conditions. Density functional theory calculations strongly support the experimental findings for the assignment of the absolute configuration of the new stereocenters, which has also been ascertained by application of the sector rule and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The use of the curved double bond of fullerene cages as a two-π-electron component in a variety of stereoselective cycloaddition reactions represents a challenging goal considering that, in contrast to most of the substituted olefins used in these reactions, pristine fullerene is a noncoordinating dipolarophile. The aforementioned features make the study of stereoselective 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions onto fullerenes a unique scenario to shed light onto important mechanistic aspects. On the other hand, the availability of achiral starting materials as well as the use of nonexpensive asymmetric catalysts should provide access to chiral fullerenes and their further application in a variety of different fields. In this regard, in addition to biomedical applications, chiral fullerenes are of interest in less-studied areas such as materials science, organic electronics, and nanoscience, where control of the order and morphology at the nanometer scale are critical issues for achieving better device efficiencies.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Stereodivergent synthesis, fullerenes, organocatalysis, azomethine ylides, 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions, reaction mechanisms.
Subjects:Sciences > Chemistry > Chemistry, Organic
ID Code:35958
Deposited On:25 Feb 2016 15:20
Last Modified:09 Aug 2016 10:08

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