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Keywords:

  • Breslow intermediates;
  • carbenes;
  • NMR spectroscopy;
  • reaction mechanisms;
  • umpolung
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

54 years later: Saturated imidazolidin-2-ylidenes react with aldehydes to smoothly produce the elusive 2,2-diamino enols A (“Breslow intermediates”, first postulated in 1958) of carbene-catalyzed umpolung reactions. The 2,2-diamino enols A react with additional aldehyde in a cross-benzoin reaction. The methylated Breslow intermediates B are accessible by deprotonation of methoxymethyl azolium salts.