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[(NHC)2Cu]X Complexes as Efficient Catalysts for Azide–Alkyne Click Chemistry at Low Catalyst Loadings


  • The ICIQ Foundation and the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia are gratefully acknowledged for financial support. S.D.G. thanks the MEC for financial support through the Torres Quevedo program. S.P.N. is an ICREA Research Professor. We thank Dr. Nicolas “La Click, c'est chic” Marion for insightful reading of this manuscript. NHC=N-heterocyclic carbene.


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La click, c'est chic! A catalytic system based on an [(NHC)2Cu]X complex (NHC=N-heterocyclic carbene) was developed for the [3+2] cycloaddition of azides with alkynes under click conditions (see scheme). This system is broad in scope and highly efficient (turnover frequencies up to 5000 h−1) even at very low catalyst loadings (down to 40 ppm). Preliminary mechanistic studies suggest a specific precatalyst-activation pathway.

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