Redox-Neutral α-Arylation of Alkyl Nitriles with Aryl Sulfoxides: A Rapid Electrophilic Rearrangement

Bo Peng presents a rapid electrophilic rearrangement through a redox-neutral α-arylation reaction.

α-Aryl nitriles are structural frameworks frequently encountered in drugs and bioactive compounds. These compounds are also versatile synthetic building blocks that can be used to synthesize α-aryl amides, carboxylic acids, ketones and β-aryl amines by simple hydrolysis or reduction. Although various approaches can produce α-aryl nitriles, the use of impractical substrates, expensive and toxic transition-metal catalysts and limited functional group tolerance have been obstacles towards their synthetic applications. Recently, Professor Bo Peng from Zhejiang Normal University (P. R. of China) disclosed a metal-free cross-coupling reaction between readily available aryl sulfoxides and alkyl nitriles, achieving an unprecedented α-arylation of nitriles.
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