Tracking the Source of Enantioselectivity
Enantioselectivity remains one of synthetic chemistry’s most formidable problems. It arises due to the formation of diastereomeric species in a reaction, either in the form of diastereomeric intermediates or a set of diastereomeric transition states. Without control a racemic mixture is formed. A resolution method is then required to separate the enantiomers. Any given resolution method will rely on the differing energies of diastereomers to allow for their separation. Experimentally there are a myriad of different options that may be used to induce separation; for example chromatography and/or crystallisation. The actual process that occurs through- out this separation has not, however, been fully investigated in all cases. A better understanding of the process is able to provide an understanding of how resolution methods work i.e. when diastereomers occur and how great their energy differences are. This is vital in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of any given resolution method. This theoretical study completed an investigation of the reaction pathway between the enantiomers of 2-formyl-3-hydroxyl[2.2]paracyclophane (FHPC) with (S)-valyl-(S)-valine. A subsequent investigation of an alternative resolution method, involving (R)-α-PEAM, was also conducted. This latter resolution method was proposed experimentally as a simpler method that could aid in improving the separation of the enantiomers. This investigation was carried out using Density Functional Theory (DFT) with the PBE0 functional and the triple-ζ TZVP basis set. The complete reaction profile was determined and diastereomeric intermediates and transition states for both resolution methods along two different pathways were determined; the ‘N-deprotonation Pathway’ and the ‘O-deprotonation Pathway’. The inadequacy of the first resolution method was found to be due to the presence of copper(II). Furthermore it was discovered that the re- action for both pathways would most likely proceed through the ‘O-deprotonation Pathway’ due to the barriers being lower in energy.