Nitrene and carbene radical formation via photo- and electrochemistry. The project aims to generate carbene or nitrene radical complexes from low-energy reagents via photo- or electrochemistry.
The direct functionalisation of C–H or C=C bonds is of great importance for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, but traditional methods often require multiple steps, harsh conditions or scarce second-row transition metals. Carbene and nitrene transfer catalysis enables this direct functionalisation and can be performed under mild conditions with first-row transition metals. However, “high-energy” reagents are used as carbene and nitrene precursors, which generate halogenated waste, are dangerous to work with or limit the substrate scope. Additionally, when unactivated carbene or nitrene precursors are used, high temperatures are required. Therefore, our aim is to generate nitrene and carbene radical complexes from low-energy reagents via photo- or electrochemistry. In this way, direct functionalization is achieved without the need of pre-activated reagents or high temperatures.