This reaction emerged a few years ago (thanks Alan!) as a tutorial problem in organic chemistry, in which students had to devise a mechanism for the reaction and use this to predict the stereochemical outcome at the two chiral centres indicated with *. It originates in a brief report from R. B. Woodward’s group in 1973 describing a prostaglandin synthesis, the stereochemical outcome being crucial. Here I take a look at this mechanism using computation.
- R.B. Woodward, J. Gosteli, I. Ernest, R.J. Friary, G. Nestler, H. Raman, R. Sitrin, C. Suter, and J.K. Whitesell, "Novel synthesis of prostaglandin F2.alpha.", J. Am. Chem. Soc., vol. 95, pp. 6853-6855, 1973. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00801a066