Researchers from McGill University’s Department of Chemistry have found a cleaner, easier way to make biaryls, an important ingredient in synthetic chemistry with applications across a wide range of fields including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, pigments, natural products and polymers. Conventional processes for making biaryls rely on stoichiometric metal reagents, resulting in large amounts of metal waste. In their paper published in Nature Communications in November 2018, the McGill scientists describe a new method for synthesizing biaryls using hydrazine (N2H4) as a metal surrogate. Instead of stoichiometric metal waste, the byproducts of their reaction are harmless nitrogen and hydrogen gases. Although groundbreaking, the discovery is by no means the end of the road: the authors are intent on pursuing further studies on the mechanism and synthetic applications of their discovery.
“N2H4 as traceless mediator for homo- and cross- aryl coupling,” Leiyang Lv et al. Nature Communications, published online Nov. 9, 2018
Photo caption: Researchers Leiyang Lv (left) and Chao-Jun Li in their McGill Chemistry lab. (Photo: Laurie Devine)