Direct C-H phenylation of 2-ethylthiophene and 2-chlorothiophene with PhPdI(bipy) complex to form either the corresponding 4-phenyl or 5-phenylthiophene derivative is studied under stoichiometric conditions using various Lewis acids as additives. It is shown that reactions occur via the corresponding cationic Pd complex (PhPdbipy +) and that the counteranion determines the regioselectivity. High-level DFT calculations reveal that C-C bond formation occurs via a carbopalladation pathway and not via electrophilic palladation. These calculations give some indications regarding the regioselectivity of the thiophene arylation.
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