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Unmasked Primary Amines as C-Nucleophiles for Catalytic C–C Bond-Formation

submitted on 12.02.2020, 11:15 and posted on 12.02.2020, 13:19 by Alison Ryder, William Cunningham, George Ballantyne, Tom Mules, Anna Kinsella, Jacob Turner-Dore, Catherine Alder, Lee Edwards, Blandine McKay, Matthew Grayson, Alex Cresswell
A practical, catalytic entry to α,α,α‑trisubstituted (α‑tertiary) primary amines by C–H functionalisation has long been recognised as a critical gap in the synthetic toolbox. We report a simple and scalable solution to this problem that does not require any in situ protection of the amino group and proceeds with 100% atom-economy. Our strategy, which uses an organic photocatalyst in combination with azide ion as a hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) catalyst, provides a direct synthesis of C-alkylated amines or γ‑lactams, including valuable azaspirocycles. We anticipate that this methodology will inspire new retrosynthetic disconnections for substituted amine derivatives in organic synthesis, and particularly for challenging α‑tertiary primary amines.


Royal Society University Research Fellowship (UF150533)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L016354/1)


Email Address of Submitting Author


University of Bath


United Kingdom

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Version Notes

Version 1.0