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N‑Dimethylation and N‑Functionalization of Amines Using Ru Nanoparticle Catalysts and Formaldehyde or Functional Aldehydes as the Carbon Source

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journal contribution
posted on 26.08.2021, 06:30 authored by Jianguo Liu, Yanpei Song, Xiang Wu, Longlong Ma
N-methylated amines are essential bioactive compounds and have been widely used in the fine and bulk chemical industries, as well as in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and dyes. Developing green, efficient, and low-cost catalysts for methylation of amines by using efficient and easily accessible methylating reagents is highly desired yet remains a significant challenge. Herein, we report the selective N-dimethylation of different functional amines with different functional aldehydes under easy-to-handle and industrially applicable conditions using carbon-supported Ru nanoparticles (Ru/C) as a heterogeneous catalyst. A broad spectrum of amines could be efficiently converted to their corresponding N,N-dimethyl amines with good compatibility of various functional groups. This method is widely applicable to N-dimethylation of primary amines including aromatic, aliphatic amines with formaldehyde, and synthesis of tertiary amines from primary, secondary amines with different functional aldehydes. The advantage of this newly described method includes operational simplicity, high turnover number, the ready availability of the catalyst, and good functional group compatibility. This Ru/C catalyzed N-dimethylation reaction possibly proceeds through a two-step N-methylation reaction process.