Chem Sci. 2022 Aug 17;13(35):10506-10511. doi: 10.1039/d2sc03418b. eCollection 2022 Sep 14.
Organocopper(ii) complexes are a rarity while organocopper(i) complexes are commonplace in chemical synthesis. In the course of building a strategy to generate organocopper(ii) species utilizing electrochemistry, a method to form compounds with CuII-C bonds was discovered, that demonstrated remarkably potent reactivity towards different functionalized alkenes under catalytic control. The role of the organocopper(ii) complex is to act as a source of masked radicals (in this case ˙CH2CN) that react with an alkene to generate the corresponding γ-halonitrile in good yields through atom transfer radical addition (ATRA) to various alkenes. The organocopper(ii) complexes can be continuously regenerated electrochemically for ATRA (eATRA), which proceeds at room temperature, under low Cu loadings (1-10 mol%) and with the possibility of Cu-catalyst recovery.