Ceramic boron carbonitrides for unlocking organic halides with visible light†
Photochemistry provides a sustainable pathway for organic transformations by inducing radical intermediates from substrates through electron transfer process. However, progress is limited by heterogeneous photocatalysts that are required to be efficient, stable, and inexpensive for long-term operation with easy recyclability and product separation. Here, we report that boron carbonitride (BCN) ceramics are such a system and can reduce organic halides, including (het)aryl and alkyl halides, with visible light irradiation. Cross-coupling of halides to afford new C–H, C–C, and C–S bonds can proceed at ambient reaction conditions. Hydrogen, (het)aryl, and sulfonyl groups were introduced into the arenes and heteroarenes at the designed positions by means of mesolytic C–X (carbon–halogen) bond cleavage in the absence of any metal-based catalysts or ligands. BCN can be used not only for half reactions, like reduction reactions with a sacrificial agent, but also redox reactions through oxidative and reductive interfacial electron transfer. The BCN photocatalyst shows tolerance to different substituents and conserved activity after five recycles. The apparent metal-free system opens new opportunities for a wide range of organic catalysts using light energy and sustainable materials, which are metal-free, inexpensive and stable.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 Chemical Science HOT Article Collection