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Mechanism of the Ligand-Free CuI-Catalyzed Azide–Alkyne Cycloaddition Reaction


  • We thank the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology for support of this work.


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A powerful engine: The Cu-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition depends on rapid formation of CuI–acetylide complexes from terminal alkynes 2 and their ability to activate organic azides 1. A kinetics study uncovered a bimolecular dependence on the metal and an unusually fast intramolecular variant of the process. The results suggest the importance of 3 as a reactive intermediate.