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Meerwein Arylation

Meerwein arylation   Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis

Reaction category:
Radical reactions!

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In 1939, German chemist Hans Meerwein and colleagues studied the reaction of diazo compounds with alpha, beta-unsaturated carbonyl compounds, in which the aryl group was added across the double bond and a molecule of nitrogen was lost. In one such experiment, coumarin was reacted with p-chlorodiazonium chloride in the presence of a copper(II) chloride catalyst to produce 3-(p-chlorophenyl)coumarin. Subsequently, the arylation of substituted alkenes with aryldiazonium halides in the presence of a metal catalyst became known as the Meerwein arylation.

Generally the aryldiazonium halides are prepared through the diazotization of the aromatic amines using sodium nitrite and aqueous hydrohalic acids, and then reacted immediately with the alkenes in an organic solvent such as acetone or acetonitrile.

The Meerwein arylation reaction has been used in many successful synthesis campaigns, including in the preparation of a series of peptide mimetic aldehyde inhibitors of calpain by Ron Bihovsky and in the first synthetic process for the synthesis of N(5)-ergolines by the research group of Jack E. Baldwin.

Mechanism of the Meerwein arylation

Reaction mechanism of the Meerwein arylation

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Other reaction categories:

Electrophilic aromatic substitution

Nucleophilic substitution reactions


Transition metal-catalyzed couplings


Reactions involving carbonyl compounds

Reduction reactions

Rearrangement reactions

Electrophilic addition reactions

Some relevant Alfa Aesar products for the Hunsdiecker reaction:

Sodium nitrite, 98%
Sodium nitrite, ACS, 97% min
Copper(II) chloride, anhydrous, 98% min
Copper(II) chloride, ultra dry, 99.995% (metals basis)

We have many alkenes in our portfolio.




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