Ruthenium phosphido complexes have been shown to be excellent nucleophiles, reacting via two-electron processes with a variety of electrophiles. A catalytic alkylation reaction was developed using an achiral ruthenium complex, which was then elaborated into a catalytic enantioselective synthesis of P-stereogenic phosphines. These useful and synthetically challenging phosphines can now be accessed in a single step from simple secondary phosphines and alkyl halides. Optimization and scope of the enantioselective alkylation are discussed.
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