Transition-metal-free C(sp3)–H/C(sp3)–H dehydrogenative coupling of saturated heterocycles with N-benzyl imines†
A unique C(sp3)–H/C(sp3)–H dehydrocoupling of N-benzylimines with saturated heterocycles is described. Using super electron donor (SED) 2-azaallyl anions and aryl iodides as electron acceptors, single-electron-transfer (SET) generates an aryl radical. Hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) from saturated heterocycles or toluenes to the aryl radical generates alkyl radicals or benzylic radicals, respectively. The newly formed alkyl radicals and benzylic radicals couple with the 2-azaallyl radicals with formation of new C–C bonds. Experimental evidence supports the key hydrogen-abstraction by the aryl radical, which determines the chemoselectivity of the radical–radical coupling reaction. It is noteworthy that this procedure avoids the use of traditional strong oxidants and transition metals.