Stereogenic sp3-hybridized carbon centres are fundamental building blocks of chiral molecules. Unlike dynamic stereogenic motifs, such as sp3-nitrogen centres or atropisomeric biaryls, sp3-carbon centres are usually fixed, requiring intermolecular reactions to undergo configurational changes. Here, we report the internal enantiomerization of fluxional carbon cages and the consequences of their adaptive configurations for the transmission of stereochemical information. The sp3-carbon stereochemistry of the rigid tricyclic cages is inverted through strain-assisted Cope rearrangements, emulating the low-barrier configurational dynamics typical for sp3 nitrogen inversion or conformational isomerism. This dynamic enantiomerization can be stopped, restarted, or slowed by external reagents, while the configuration of the cage is controlled by neighbouring, fixed stereogenic centres. As part of a phosphoramidite–olefin ligand, the fluxional cage acts as a conduit to transmit stereochemical information from the ligand while also transferring its dynamic properties to chiral-at-metal coordination environments, influencing catalysis, ion pairing and ligand exchange energetics.
Bismillah, A., Johnson, T., Hussein, B., Turley, A., Saha, P., Wong, H., …McGonigal, P. (2023). Control of Dynamic sp3-C Stereochemistry. Nature Chemistry, 15(5), 615-624. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-023-01156-7