PerspectiveOrganic Chemistry

Three catalysts for activating carbon-hydrogen bonds

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Science  10 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6291, pp. 1277-1278
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8923

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Transition metal–catalyzed arylation of C–H bonds has been intensively studied for forming C–C bonds in complex-molecule synthesis (1). An acidic C–H bond (for example, one near a double bond or an O atom) is cleaved to form a carbon–metal bond, which then couples to arene. Many of these organometallic species can be generated catalytically. Much less research has dealt with unreactive nonacidic sp3 C–H bond functionalization (3). On page 1304 of this issue, Shaw et al. (3) report an efficient and general method that focuses on arylation of sp3 C–H bonds at carbon atoms adjacent to amines and to cyclic ethers by combining nickel, visible-light photoredox, and hydrogen-atom transfer (HAT) catalysis.