J Am Chem Soc 2016 10 21;138(39):12715-12718. Epub 2016 Sep 21.
Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6323, United States.
An iridium photocatalyst and visible light facilitate a room temperature, nickel-catalyzed coupling of (hetero)aryl bromides with activated α-heterosubstituted or benzylic C(sp)-H bonds. Mechanistic investigations on this unprecedented transformation have uncovered the possibility of an unexpected mechanism hypothesized to involve a Ni-Br homolysis event from an excited-state nickel complex. The resultant bromine radical is thought to abstract weak C(sp)-H bonds to generate reactive alkyl radicals that can be engaged in Ni-catalyzed arylation. Evidence suggests that the iridium photocatalyst facilitates nickel excitation and bromine radical generation via triplet-triplet energy transfer.