Taming of Fluoroform: Direct Nucleophilic Trifluoromethylation of Si, B, S, and C Centers

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Science  07 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6112, pp. 1324-1327
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227859

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Fluoroform (CF3H), a large-volume by-product of the manufacture of Teflon, refrigerants, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), fire-extinguishing agents, and foams, is a potent and stable greenhouse gas that has found little practical use despite the growing importance of trifluoromethyl (CF3) functionality in more structurally elaborate pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and materials. Direct nucleophilic trifluoromethylation using CF3H has been a challenge. Here, we report on a direct trifluoromethylation protocol using close to stoichiometric amounts of CF3H in common organic solvents such as tetrahydrofuran (THF), diethyl ether, and toluene. The methodology is widely applicable to a variety of silicon, boron, and sulfur-based electrophiles, as well as carbon-based electrophiles.

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