The Catalytic Cross-Coupling of Unactivated Arenes

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Science  25 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5828, pp. 1172-1175
DOI: 10.1126/science.1141956

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The industrially important coupling of aromatic compounds has generally required differential prefunctionalization of the arene coupling partners with a halide and an electropositive group. Here we report that palladium, in conjunction with a copper oxidant, can catalyze the cross-coupling of N-acetylindoles and benzenes in high yield and high regioselectivity across a range of indoles without recourse to activating groups. These reactions are completely selective for arene cross-coupling, with no products arising from indole or benzene homo-coupling detected by spectroscopic analysis. This efficient reactivity should be useful in the design of other oxidative arene cross-couplings as well.

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