Herbert C Brown
Articles written in Journal of Chemical Sciences
Volume 100 Issue 2-3 April 1988 pp 119-142
Organoboranes, readily available via the hydroboration of unsaturated organic compounds, exhibit a remarkable versatility in their reactions. The boron atom in these organoboranes can be readily converted into a wide variety of organic groups under very mild conditions, providing simple versatile syntheses of organic compounds. Exploration of these substitution reactions reveal that, with rare exceptions, the organoboranes transfer the alkyl group to other elements of synthetic interest with complete retention of stereochemistry. Recently we have discovered a method of synthesizing essentially optically pure organoborane intermediates. These optically active alkyl groups attached to boron can also be transferred with complete retention of optical activity. Consequently, it is now possible to achieve by a rational synthesis the preparation of almost any optically active compound with a chiral center, either R- or S-, in essentially 100% enantiomeric excess.
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