Electrochemical synthesis of gold-N-heterocyclic carbene complexes

07 July 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


An electrochemical synthesis of gold(I)-N-heterocyclic carbene (Au-NHC) complexes has been developed. The electrochemical methodology uses only imidazolium salts, gold metal electrodes, and electricity to produce these complexes and the only by-product is hydrogen gas. This high-yielding and operationally simple procedure has been used to produce seven mononuclear and three dinuclear Au-NHC complexes. The electrochemical procedure facilitates a clean reaction with no by-products. As such, Au-NHC complexes can be directly transferred to catalytic reactions without work-up or purification. The Au-NHC complexes were produced on-demand and tested as catalysts in a vinylcyclopropanation reaction. All mononuclear Au-NHC complexes performed similarly to or better than the isolated complexes, showcasing how the electrochemical procedure can speed up catalyst screening and reaction development.


N-heterocyclic carbene

Supplementary materials

Supplementray Information
Full experimental details and characterization data are included in the online supporting information.


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