Single-electron transmetalation in organoboron cross-coupling by photoredox/nickel dual catalysis

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Science  05 Jun 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253647

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The routine application of Csp3-hybridized nucleophiles in cross-coupling reactions remains an unsolved challenge in organic chemistry. The sluggish transmetalation rates observed for the preferred organoboron reagents in such transformations are a consequence of the two-electron mechanism underlying the standard catalytic approach. Reported herein is a mechanistically distinct single-electron transfer-based strategy for the activation of organoboron reagents toward transmetalation that exhibits complementary reactivity patterns. Application of an iridium photoredox catalyst in tandem with a nickel catalyst effects the cross-coupling of potassium alkoxyalkyl- and benzyltrifluoroborates with an array of aryl bromides under exceptionally mild conditions (visible light, ambient temperature, no strong base). The transformation has been extended to the asymmetric and stereoconvergent cross-coupling of a secondary benzyltrifluoroborate.

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