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Electron Transfer Reduction of Nitriles Using SmI2–Et3N–H2O: Synthetic Utility and Mechanism

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 00:43 by Michal Szostak, Brice Sautier, Malcolm Spain, David J. Procter
The first general reduction of nitriles to primary amines under single electron transfer conditions is demonstrated using SmI2 (Kagan’s reagent) activated with Lewis bases. The reaction features excellent functional group tolerance and represents an attractive alternative to the use of pyrophoric alkali metal hydrides. Notably, the electron transfer from Sm­(II) to CN functional groups generates imidoyl-type radicals from bench stable nitrile precursors.