An effective one-pot method for the conversion of carbon dioxide, ethylene oxide, and amines to 3-aryl-2-oxazolidinones has been developed. This one-pot method consists of two parallel reactions and a subsequent cascade reaction between the two products of the corresponding parallel reactions. Notably, the binary ionic liquids of 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium bromide and 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium acetate demonstrate a synergistic catalytic effect on this new strategy. 1-Butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium bromide is essential in two parallel reactions owing to the good nucleophilicity and leaving ability of bromide, and 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium acetate plays a dominant role in the subsequent cascade reaction owing to the strong basicity of acetate. In addition, the binary ionic liquids can be used thrice without significant loss of catalytic activity.
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