The article reported the first general C-O cross-coupling reaction, which connects ring-shaped molecules, called aromatics, to alcohol-containing molecules, using a dual nickel-photoredox catalyst system. Extending nickel’s reach to C-O coupling reactions has great potential given the tremendous impact nickel chemistry has had on analogous C-C coupling reactions.
For the most part, these C-O cross-coupling reactions have been unattainable by traditional nickel catalysis. That’s because the final bonding-forming step—called reductive elimination—in which nickel excises itself to leave behind a C-O bond, is fundamentally unfavorable. By introducing a photocatalyst, the research team was able to remove a single electron from the key nickel intermediate to access an elusive oxidation state of nickel that can readily form the desired bond.
For the full story: https://blogs.princeton.edu/research/2015/08/12/new-pathways-for-nickel-chemistry-nature/