PerspectiveOrganic Catalysis

A leap ahead for activating C-H bonds

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Science  31 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6247, pp. 473-474
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac9244

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Although great strides have been taken in recent decades, the catalytic and selective functionalization of normally unreactive carbon-hydrogen bonds (1) as a route to high value-added compounds remains one of the major challenges in catalysis, and in chemistry in general. On page 513 of this issue, Légaré et al. (2) describe a metal-free process for the catalytic borylation of carbon-hydrogen bonds in heteroarenes. Their catalyst incorporates a “frustrated” pair comprising a Lewis acid and base, and this approach to the problem may have wider applications in other carbon-hydrogen bond functionalization reactions.