Electrochemical Vicinal Difluorination of Alkenes: Sustainable, Scalable, and Amenable to Electron-rich Substrates

Fluorinated alkyl groups are important motifs in bioactive compounds, positively influencing pharmacokinetics, potency and F conformation. The oxidative difluorination of alkenes represents an H important strategy for their preparation, yet current methods are limited in their alkene-types and tolerance of electron-rich, readily oxidized functionalities, as well as in their scalability. Herein, we report a method for the difluorination of a number of unactivated alkene-types that is tolerant of electron-rich functionality, giving products that are otherwise unattainable. Key to success is the electrochemical generation of a hypervalent iodine mediator (in the presence of nucleophilic fluoride and HFIP) using an ‘ex-cell’ approach, which avoids the oxidative decomposition of the substrate. The more sustainable conditions give good to excellent yields of product in up to decagram scales