Benzylic C–H Acylation by Cooperative NHC and Photoredox Catalysis

Armido Studer reports on an application of cooperative NHC and photoredox catalysis.

The acylation of a C–H bond is a powerful and straightforward approach for the synthesis of ketones. According to Professor Armido Studer from the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster  (Germany) the acylation of arene sp2 C–H bonds is very well developed, while less progress has been achieved for sp3 C–H bond acylation. He argued that “considering that many bioactive compounds contain benzylic C–H bonds in their skeletons, acylation of such sites would be highly interesting and useful, particularly if site-selective functionalization can be achieved for substrates bearing more than one benzylic C–H bond. That approach would ideally also allow for late-stage acylation of complex compounds, e.g. natural products, drugs or drug candidates.”
Professor Studer’s group has a long-standing interest in N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) catalyzed radical transformations, which could offer a potential solution to the challenging issue posed by site-selective late C–H acylation.

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