For those of you who are into organic synthesis. May 25th issue of Science published a paper by David R. Stuart and Keith Fagnou from University of Ottawa (Canada) – “The Catalytic Cross-Coupling of Unactivated Arenes”. They report that aromatic compounds can be coupled without having to preactivate the reactants.

This method employs palladium and a copper oxidant as a catalyst system to create C-C (carbonâ??carbon) bonds between benzene and two-ringed N-acetylindoles. Arene cross-coupling reactions have previously required several steps, with the starting materials first being converted into more reactive analogues. In the new scheme, the catalyst activates a carbonâ??hydrogen bond on the indole, making it reactive enough to form a bond with one of the benzene’s carbon atoms. The method is more efficient and generates less waste than other approaches.

Science 25 May 2007:
Vol. 316. no. 5828, pp. 1172 – 1175
DOI: 10.1126/science.1141956