Photosensitization Enables Pauson–Khand-type Reactions with Nitrenes

Rene Koenigs describes Pauson–Khand-type reactions with nitrenes using photosensitization.

Even 50 years after the landmark discovery of cobalt-catalyzed (2+2+1) cycloaddition reactions, the Pauson–Khand reaction remains one of the most synthetically intriguing among this type of processes. It features the reaction of an alkyne and an olefin with carbon monoxide to furnish cyclo-pentenones, and significant developments with regards to both unsaturated reaction partners and the catalyst were made. Nowadays, the Pauson–Khand reaction finds widespread applications, ranging from total synthesis towards applications in drug synthesis and bulk chemical synthesis. The most significant limitation of Pauson–Khand reactions, however, lies within the necessity to use carbon monoxide as a C1 building block. For the last few years, Professor Rene Koenigs’ group at RWTH Aachen University (Germany) has been particularly interested in the development of metal-free carbene and nitrene chemistry, where photochemical or photocatalytic applications and spin-state-dependent reactivity are in the spotlight.

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