Organocatalytic Enantioselective Formal C(sp²)–H Alkylation

Functionalization of a specific C–H bond in a molecule with a selected atom or group is among the most straightforward and desirable synthetic transformations in organic chemistry. This field is dominated by transition-metal catalysts and the regioselectivity is almost always dictated by a directing group present within the same molecular framework. While the direct functionalization of C–H bonds with a functionalized alkyl group became possible through this approach, replacement of ‘H’ with a simple, non-functionalized alkyl group remained elusive. The group of Professor Santanu Mukherjee at the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore, India) has now developed a simple protocol for the direct alkylation of olefinic C(sp²)–H bonds, not only enantioselectively using an organocatalyst but more importantly without having to use any directing group.

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