Superstrong Organic Reducing Agent

Organic electron donors with exceptionally negative redox potentials have emerged as useful reagents in organic synthesis to complement traditional metal-based reducing agents. Chemists led by John A. Murphy of the University of Strathclyde and C. Adam Dyker of the University of New Brunswick pushed this class of compounds to a new level by creating a tetra(iminophosphorano)-substituted bispyridinylidene that has a record redox potential of –1.70 V, surpassing the previous record by about 0.2 V (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201505378). The two-electron donor molecule, which can be used in multigram-scale reactions, is the first reagent strong enough to reduce recalcitrant malononitriles (shown) and sulfonamides without light-driven photoexcitation.

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