Highly efficient NHC-iridium-catalyzed β-methylation of alcohols with methanol at low catalyst loadings

Zeye Lu, Qingshu Zheng, Guangkuo Zeng, Yunyan Kuang, James Hanley Clark, Tao Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The methylation of alcohols is of great importance since a broad number of bioactive and pharmaceutical alcohols contain methyl groups. Here, a highly efficient β-methylation of primary and secondary alcohols with methanol has been achieved by using bis-N-heterocyclic carbene iridium (bis-NHC-Ir) complexes. Broad substrate scope and up to quantitative yields were achieved at low catalyst loadings with only hydrogen and water as by-products. The protocol was readily extended to the β-alkylation of alcohols with several primary alcohols. Control experiments, along with DFT calculations and crystallographic studies, revealed that the ligand effect is critical to their excellent catalytic performance, shedding light on more challenging Guerbet reactions with simple alcohols.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1361-1366
JournalScience China Chemistry
Issue number8
Early online date17 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

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