Mechanistic Insight into the Nickel-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling of Aryl Phosphates with Arylboronic Acids: Potassium Phosphate is Not a Spectator Base but is Involved in the Transmetalation Step in the Suzuki–Miyaura Reaction
Spectator or actor? Density functional theory calculations were performed to examine the role of the base in the nickel-catalyzed cross-coupling of aryl phosphates with arylboronic acids. Potassium phosphate was found to not act as a spectator base but was involved in the transmetalation step, as shown by a lower barrier than that of a base-free process, owing to the activation of the carbonboron bond by the base. Further experimental observations support the theoretical findings.