Photocatalytic Alkylation of Pyrroles and Indoles with α-Diazo Esters

This article describes direct photoalkylation of electron-rich aromatic compounds with diazo compoiunds. C-2 alkylated indoles and pyrroles are obtained with good yields even though the photocatalyst (Ru(bpy)3Cl2) loading is as low as 0.075 mol %. For substrates bearing electron-withdrawing substituents the addition of a catalytic amount of N,N-dimethyl-4-methoxyaniline is required. Both EWG-EWG and EWG-EDG substituted diazo esters are suitable as alkylating agents. The reaction selectivity and mechanistic experiments suggest that carbenes/carbenoid intermediates are not involved in the reaction pathway, instead radical formation is proposed.