Role of orbital symmetry in transition metal promoted ring opening reactions of methylenecyclopropanes and cyclobutenes
Transition metals catalyse a variety of organic reactions, of which the ring opening of strained ring organic molecules generated a lot of interest. Theoreticians predicted a metal orbital catalysed pathway, which involved concerted bond breaking and bond forming. On the other hand experimentalists were able to show that the reaction was not proceeding through a concerted pathway by intercepting the intermediates involved. There remained, however, two ring systems methylenecyclopropanes and cyclobutenes—whose reactions with metal complexes seemed to be of a concerted nature. An analysis of the reactions of different metal complexes with these ring systems and the theoretical predictions provide a rationale for understanding these reactions.