Elusive metal-free primary amination of arylboronic acids: Synthetic studies and mechanism by density functional theory

Chen Zhu, Gongqiang Li, Daniel H. Ess, J R Falck, László Kürti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Scopus citations


Herein, we disclose the first metal-free synthesis of primary aromatic amines from arylboronic acids, a reaction that has eluded synthetic chemists for decades. This remarkable transformation affords structurally diverse primary arylamines in good chemical yields, including a variety of halogenated primary anilines that often cannot be prepared via transition-metal-catalyzed amination. The reaction is operationally simple, requires only a slight excess of aminating agent, proceeds under neutral or basic conditions, and, importantly, can be scaled up to provide multigram quantities of primary anilines. Density functional calculations reveal that the most likely mechanism involves a facile 1,2-aryl migration and that the presence of an ortho nitro group in the aminating agent plays a critical role in lowering the free energy barrier of the 1,2-aryl migration step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18253-18256
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

Cite this