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Poly-substituted aromatic sulfur compounds are widely found in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and organic materials. However, the position that a sulfur moiety can be introduced to is largely restricted to a pre-functionalized site; otherwise, use of electronically biased substrates or auxiliary groups that direct catalysis is required. Here we report a general ortho thiolation of common aryl and heteroaryl iodides via palladium-norbornene cooperative catalysis. Using this approach, an aryl or alky sulfur moiety can be site-selectively introduced at the arene ortho position without using sterically or electronically biased substrates. The arene ipso functionalization is simultaneously achieved through Heck, Suzuki or Sonogashira termination. The reaction is enabled by a unique class of electrophiles in palladium-norbornene cooperative catalysis, which are sulfenamides derived from seven-membered lactams. The broad substrates scope and high chemoselectivity could make this method attractive for synthesis of complex sulfur-containing aromatic compounds.


Renhe Li, Yun Zhou, Ki-Young Yoon, Zhe Dong, Guangbin Dong. Sulfenamide-enabled ortho thiolation of aryl iodides via palladium/norbornene cooperative catalysis. Nature communications. 2019 Aug 07;10(1):3555

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PMID: 31391472

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