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A highly efficient, operationally simple approach to trifluoromethyl ketones has been developed that builds on the use of a tandem process involving Claisen condensation and retro-Claisen C-C bond cleavage reaction. Enolizable alkyl phenyl ketones were found to react readily with ethyl trifuoroacetate under the promotion of NaH to afford trifluoroacetic ester/ketone exchange products, trifluoromethyl ketones, which were quite different from the general Claisen condensation products, β-diketones. This procedure uses readily available starting materials and can be extended to the preparation of perfluoroalkyl ketones in excellent yield.


Dongmei Yang, Yuhan Zhou, Na Xue, Jingping Qu. Synthesis of trifluoromethyl ketones via tandem Claisen condensation and retro-Claisen C-C bond-cleavage reaction. The Journal of organic chemistry. 2013 Apr 19;78(8):4171-6

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PMID: 23517488

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