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A Robust Nickel Catalyst for Cyanomethylation of Aldehydes: Activation of Acetonitrile under Base-Free Conditions


  • We thank the U.S. National Science Foundation (CHE-0952083) for support of this research. X-Ray data were collected on a Bruker SMART6000 diffractometer which was purchased with funding provided by an NSF-MRI grant (CHE-0215950).


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Nick of time: The nickel cyanomethyl complex 1 catalyzes the room temperature coupling of aldehydes with acetonitrile under base-free conditions. The catalytic system is long-lived and remarkably efficient with high turnover numbers (TONs) and turnover frequencies (TOFs) achieved. The mild reaction conditions allow a wide variety of aldehydes, including base-sensitive ones, to catalytically react with acetonitrile.

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