Long sought synthesis of quaternary phosphonium salts from phosphine oxides: inverse reactivity approach
Quaternary phosphonium salts (QPS), a key class of organophosphorus compounds, have previously only been available by routes involving nucleophilic phosphorus. We report the realisation of the opposite approach to QPS utilising phosphine oxides as the electrophilic partner and Grignard reagents as nucleophiles. The process is enabled through the crucial intermediacy of the derived halophosphonium salts. The route does not suffer from the slow kinetics and limited availability of many parent phosphines and a broad range of QPS were prepared in excellent yields.