A series of highly reactive metal-free chiral phosphoric acids possessing positively charged phosphonium ion substituents are reported and have been applied to Friedel-Crafts alkylations of indoles and 2,2,2-trifluoromethyl aryl ketones. These catalysts are orders-of-magnitude more active and have similar or better enantioselectivities than their noncharged analogues. High tolerance to a range of substrates with electron-withdrawing and electron-donating substituents was also observed.
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Generous support from the National Science Foundation (CHE-1665392) and the Petroleum Research Fund (55631-ND4) as administered by the American Chemical Society is gratefully acknowledged.
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