Versatile Visible-Light-Driven Synthesis of Asymmetrical Phosphines and Phosphonium Salts

Percia Arockiam, Ulrich Lennert, Christina Graf, Robin Rothfelder, Daniel Scott, Tillmann Fischer, Kirsten Zeitler, Robert Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)


Asymmetrically substituted tertiary phosphines and quaternary phosphonium salts are used extensively in applications throughout industry and academia. Despite their significance, classical methods to synthesize such compounds often demand either harsh reaction conditions, prefunctionalization of starting materials, highly sensitive organometallic reagents, or expensive transition-metal catalysts. Mild, practical methods thus remain elusive, despite being of great current interest. Herein, we describe a visible-light-driven method to form these products from secondary and primary phosphines. Using an inexpensive organic photocatalyst and blue-light irradiation, arylphosphines can be both alkylated and arylated using commercially available organohalides. In addition, the same organocatalyst can be used to transform white phosphorus (P4) directly into symmetrical aryl phosphines and phosphonium salts in a single reaction step, which has previously only been possible using precious metal catalysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16374-16382
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number69
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2020


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