Computational–experimental analysis has allowed determining that the stereochemistry of the Staudinger reaction between ketenes and imines is strongly associated with the nature of the imine, which affects the two steps of the reaction. The first step, namely the nucleophilic attack of the sp2-hybridized nitrogen atom of the imine on the sp-hybridized carbon atom of the ketene, is affected by the energetically accessible in situ isomerization patterns of the imine. The second step consists of a conrotatory electrocyclization of the zwitterionic intermediate formed in the previous step. This latter pericyclic step depends on the inward/outward torquoelectronic effects generated by the substituents of the imine. The impact of these factors on the stereochemistry of this reaction has been analyzed kinetically by numerical methods. The results of these simulations are compatible with the experimental results and support these conclusions.
RSC Adv., 2022,12, 104-117. doi.org/10.1039/d1ra06114c
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