Journal of Organic Chemistry
76 (7), 2157-2167
The synthetic utility of N-alkylidene-(2,3-dibromo-2-methylpropyl)amines and N-(2,3-dibromo-2-methylpropylidene)benzylamines was demonstrated by the unexpected synthesis of 3-methoxy-3-methylazetidines upon treatment with sodium borohydride in methanol under reflux through a rare aziridine to azetidine rearrangement. These findings stand in contrast to the known reactivity of the closely related N-alkylidene-(2,3-dibromopropyl)amines, which are easily converted into 2-(bromomethyl)aziridines under the same reaction conditions. A thorough insight into the reaction mechanism was provided by both experimental study and theoretical rationalization.