Purdue University Graduate School
Dissertation_AKalb.pdf (14.4 MB)

Catalytic Vinylidene Transfer and Insertion Reactions

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posted on 2022-04-20, 19:32 authored by Annah E KalbAnnah E Kalb

 Metal-stabilized carbenes, most commonly formed through the decomposition of  diazoacetates, are extensively employed in organic synthesis. However, several classes of carbenes,  such as vinylidenes, are challenging to utilize in transition metal catalysis due to the instability of  the required diazo precursors. To overcome this challenge, most transition metal-catalyzed  vinylidene transfer and insertion methods rely on alkynes as vinylidene precursors. Only catalysts  that form stable M=C multiple bonds and weak M(π-C≡C) interactions can promote this alkyne  isomerization, and the resultant metal(vinylidene) species is often less reactive compared to free  vinylidenes. The discovery of 1,1-dihaloalkenes as precursors to transition metal vinylidene  complexes has significantly expanded the scope of vinylidene transfer and insertion reactions.  Dinuclear catalysts were found to promote the reductive cyclization of 1,1-dichloroalkenes  containing pendant alkenes to form methylenecycloalkenes, and mechanistic studies are consistent  with the formation of a Ni2(vinylidene) species. Furthermore, these catalysts promote reductive  three-component cycloaddition reactions with 1,1-dichloroalkenes and aldehydes to generate  methylenedioxolanes, which upon treatment with aqueous acid provides access in one step to new,  unsymmetrical aliphathic α-hydroxy ketones that would be difficult to access with existing  methods. Under dilute conditions, an enone byproduct is formed and a DFT model is presented  that accounts for concentration-based reaction selectivity.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Chemistry

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Christopher Uyeda

Additional Committee Member 2

Mingji Dai

Additional Committee Member 3

Suzanne Bart

Additional Committee Member 4

Elizabeth Parkinson