The F/Ph rearrangement reaction of [(Ph3P)3RhF], the fluoride congener of Wilkinson's catalyst

Stuart A. Macgregor*, D. Christopher Roe, William J. Marshall, Karen M. Bloch, Vladimir I. Bakhmutov, Vladimir V. Grushin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


The fluoride congener of Wilkinson's catalyst, [(Ph3P) 3RhF] (1), has been synthesized and fully characterized. Unlike Wilkinson's catalyst, 1 easily activates the inert C-Cl bond of ArCl (Ar = Ph, ρ-tolyl) under mild conditions (3 h at 80 °C) to produce trans-[(Ph 3P)2Rh(Ph2PF)(Cl)] (2) and ArPh as a result of C-Cl, Rh-F, and P-C bond cleavage and C-C, Rh-Cl, and P-F bond formation. In benzene (2-3 h at 80 °C), 1 decomposes to a 1:1 mixture of trans-[(Ph 3P)2Rh(Ph2PF)(F)] (3) and the cyclometalated complex [(Ph3P)2Rh(Ph2PC6H 4)] (4). Both the chloroarene activation and the thermal decomposition reactions have been shown to occur via the facile and reversible F/Ph rearrangement reaction of 1 to cis-[(Ph3P)2Rh(Ph) (Ph2PF)] (5), which has been isolated and fully characterized. Kinetic studies of the F/Ph rearrangement, an intramolecular process not influenced by extra phosphine, have led to the determination of Ea = 22.7 ± 1.2 kcal mol-1, ΔH‡ 22.0 ± 1.2 kcal mol-1, and ΔS‡ = -10.0 ± 3.7 eu. Theoretical studies of F/Ph exchange with the [(PH3)2(PH 2Ph)RhF] model system pointed to two possible mechanisms: (i) Ph transfer to Rh followed by F transfer to P (formally oxidative addition followed by reductive elimination, pathway 1) and (ii) F transfer to produce a metallophosphorane with subsequent Ph transfer to Rh (pathway 2). Although pathway 1 cannot be ruled out completely, the metallophosphorane mechanism finds more support from both our own and previously reported observations. Possible involvement of metallophosphorane intermediates in various P-F, P-O, and P-C bond-forming reactions at a metal center is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15304-15321
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2005


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