Visible-light-promoted oxidative dehydrogenation of hydrazobenzenes and transfer hydrogenation of azobenzenes†
Azo compounds are widely used in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Here, we report the use of a non-metal photo-redox catalyst, Eosin Y, to synthesize azo compounds from hydrazine derivatives. The use of visible-light with air as the oxidant makes this process sustainable and practical. Moreover, the visible-light-driven, photo-redox-catalyzed transfer hydrogenation of azobenzenes is compatible with a series of hydrogen donors such as phenyl hydrazine and cyclic amines. Compared with traditional (thermal/transition-metal) methods, our process avoids the issue of over-reduction to aniline, which extends the applicability of photo-redox catalysis and confirms it as a useful tool for synthetic organic chemistry.