A unified photocatalytic strategy for the cross coupling of alcohols with aryl halides enabled by synergistic nickel and iron LMCT catalysis

20 June 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The use of alcohol feedstock as coupling partner in cross coupling reactions offers an extraordinary potential for the effi-cient synthesis of Csp3-rich complex molecular scaffolds. This prominent strategy relies on the generation of alkoxy radicals, which can react via various radical pathways to give carbon-centered radicals that can be engaged in C-C bond formation reactions. However, cross-coupling reactions involving catalytic generation of alkoxy radicals directly from native alcohols is highly challenging and the scope of existing catalytic methods remains particularly limited. Moreover, a unified strategy that can incorporate a broad range of alcohols in catalytic cross-coupling with aryl halides is currently unavailable. Herein, we report a general photocatalytic platform that combines nickel and iron ligand-to-metal charge transfer (LMCT) catalysis for the selective deconstructive Csp2-Csp3 bond cleavage and arylation of various unactivated alcohols. This protocol lever-ages the ability of photoinduced iron LMCT catalysis to generate radicals from diversely substituted alcohols, enabling im-plementation of various C-C bond-forming manifolds. These include dehydroxymethylative arylation of aliphatic alcohols, remote arylation of cyclic alcohols to yield alkyl ketones, and unprecedented use of tertiary alcohols for methylation of aryl halides. This methodology offers a practical and unified strategy for engaging a large variety of commercially available alcohols in cross-coupling reactions under mild conditions, using abundant nickel and iron catalysts. Mechanistic studies, including stoichiometric organometallic chemistry and cyclic voltammetry, provide unprecedented insights into the crucial role of the ancillary ligand surrounding the iron catalyst in stabilizing high-valent photo-catalytically active intermediates.


Nickel catalysis
Iron catalysis
Native alcohols
Mechanistic study


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