Although the synthetic utility of asymmetric phase-transfer catalysis continues to expand, the number of proven catalyst types and design criteria remains limited. At the origin of this scarcity is a lack in understanding of how catalyst structural features affect the rate and enantioselectivity of phase transfer catalyzed reactions. Described in this paper is the development of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) and -selectivity relationships (QSSR) for the alkylation of a protected glycine imine with libraries of quaternary ammonium ion catalysts. Catalyst descriptors including ammonium ion accessibility, interfacial adsorption affinity, and partition coefficient were found to correlate meaningfully with catalyst activity. The physical nature of the descriptors was rationalized through differing contributions of the interfacial and extraction mechanisms to the reaction under study. The variation in the observed enantioselectivity was rationalized employing a comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA) using both the steric and electrostatic fields of the catalysts. A qualitative analysis of the developed model reveals preferred regions for catalyst binding to afford both configurations of the alkylated product.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry