Author(s): Montchamp JL
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Abstract Organophosphorus compounds are important in everyday applications ranging from agriculture to medicine and are used in flame retardants and other materials. Although organophosphorus chemistry is known as a mature and specialized area, researchers would like to develop new methods for synthesizing organophosphorus compounds to improve the safety and sustainability of these chemical processes. The vast majority of compounds that contain a phosphorus-carbon bond are manufactured using phosphorus trichloride (PCl3) as an intermediate. However, these reactions require chlorine, and researchers would like to avoid the use of PCl3 and develop safer chemistry that also decreases energy consumption and minimizes waste. Researchers have already proposed and discussed two primary strategies based on elemental phosphorus (P4 or Pred) or on phosphine (PH3) as alternatives to PCl3. However, phosphinates, an important class of phosphorus compounds defined as any compound with a phosphorus atom attached to two oxygens, R(1)R(2)P(O)(OR) (R(1)/R(2) = hydrogen/carbon), offer another option. This Account discusses the previously neglected potential of these phosphinates as replacements of PCl3 for the preparation of organophosphorus compounds. Because of their strong reductive properties, industry currently uses the simplest members of this class of compounds, hypophosphites, for one major application: electroless plating. In comparison with other proposed PCl3 surrogates, hypophosphorous derivatives can offer improved stability, lower toxicity, higher solubility, and increased atom economy. When their reducing power is harnessed to form phosphorus-carbon or phosphorus-oxygen bonds, these compounds are also rich and versatile precursors to organophosphorus compounds. This Account examines the use of transition metal-catalyzed reactions such as cross-coupling and hydrophosphinylation for phosphorus-carbon bond formation. Because the most important industrial organophosphorus compounds include compounds triply or quadruply bound to oxygen, I also discuss controlled transfer hydrogenation for phosphorus-oxygen bond formation. I hope that this Account will further promote research in this novel and exciting yet much underdeveloped area of phosphinate activation.
This article was published in Acc Chem Res
and referenced in Chemical Sciences Journal