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Org Lett. 2018 Feb 16;20(4):930-933. doi: 10.1021/acs.orglett.7b03783. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

TEMPO-Catalyzed Aerobic Oxidative Selenium Insertion Reaction: Synthesis of 3-Selenylindole Derivatives by Multicomponent Reaction of Isocyanides, Selenium Powder, Amines, and Indoles under Transition-Metal-Free Conditions.

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Key Laboratory of Organic Synthesis of Jiangsu Province, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Soochow University , Suzhou 215123, P. R. China.


A novel and efficient approach for the selenium functionalization of indoles was developed with selenium powder as the selenium source, catalyzed by 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinooxy (TEMPO) and employing O2 as the green oxidant. This protocol provides a practical route for the synthesis of 3-selenylindole derivatives and has the advantages of readily available starting materials, mild reaction conditions, and a wide scope of substrates. Electron spin-resonance (ESR) studies reveal that the approach involves the formation of nitrogen-centered radicals and selenium radicals via oxidation of in situ generated selenoates.

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