Abstract Cu/TEMPO catalyst systems are known for the selective transformation of alcohols to aldehydes, as well as for the simultaneous coupling of alcohols and amines to imines under oxidative conditions. In this study, such a Cu/TEMPO catalyst system is found to catalyze the N-formylation of a variety of amines by initial oxidative activation of methanol as the carbonyl source via formaldehyde and formation of N,O-hemiacetals and oxidation of the latter under very mild conditions. A vast range of amines, including aromatic and aliphatic, primary and secondary, and linear and cyclic amines are formylated under these conditions with good to excellent yields. Moreover, paraformaldehyde can be used instead of methanol for the N-formylation.
- homogeneous catalysis
- oxidative coupling