Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 13;9(2):eade8638. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade8638. Epub 2023 Jan 13.
Enantioenriched phosphorus compounds play crucial roles in many fields ranging from catalyst to materials science to drug development. Despite advances in the construction of phosphacycles, incorporation of a P-chirogenic center into heterocycles remains challenging. Here, we report an effective method for the preparation of phosphacycles through nickel-catalyzed [4+2] heteroannulation of internal alkynes with aminophosphanes derived from o-haloanilines. Notably, chiral 2-λ5-phosphaquinolines can be prepared from P-stereogenic substrates via NH/PH tautomeric equilibrium without loss of stereochemical integrity. The strategy is found to exhibit a broad scope in terms of both reaction components, enabling modular construction of libraries of 2-λ5-phosphaquinolines with different steric and electronic properties for fine-tuning photophysical properties, where some of these compounds showed distinct fluorescence with high quantum yields. A series of mechanistic studies further shed light on the pathway of the heteroannulation and reasons for stereospecificity.