Redox-neutral Photocatalytic C-H Carboxylation of Arenes and Styrenes with CO2

17 June 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an attractive one-carbon (C1) building block in terms of sustainability and abundance. However, its low reactivity limits applications in organic synthesis as typically high-energy reagents are required to drive transformations. Here, we present a redox-neutral C−H carboxylation of arenes and styrenes using a photocatalytic approach. Upon blue-light excitation, the anthrolate anion photocatalyst is able to reduce many aromatic compounds to their corresponding radical anions, which react with CO2 to afford carboxylic acids. High-throughput screening and computational analysis suggest that a correct balance between electron affinity and nucleophilicity of substrates is essential. This novel methodology enables the carboxylation of numerous aromatic compounds, including many that are not tolerated in classical carboxylation chemistry. Over 50 examples of C−H functionalizations using CO2 or ketones illustrate a broad applicability. The method opens new opportunities for late-stage C−H carboxylation and valorization of common arenes.


carbon dioxide (CO2)
C−H Functionalization
radical anions
carboxylic acid

Supplementary materials

C-H Carboxylation-SI


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.