Certain features of will be down for maintenance the evening of Friday August 18th starting at 8:00 pm CDT until Saturday August 19th at 12:01 pm CDT.   Please note that you still have telephone and email access to our local offices. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Chemical Synthesis

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands

For C-C, C-N, and C-O Bond Formation:
Over the past several years, the Buchwald group has developed a series of bulky electron-rich phosphines that have garnered much attention for their ability to effect various C–C, C–N, and C–O bond formations.1 In particular, the SPhos and XPhos ligands have proven to be highly universal ligands for Suzuki-Miyaura reactions, especially with hindered aryl substrates and heteroaryl halides. In the case of XPhos, Pd-catalyzed coupling with unactivated aryl and heteroaryl chlorides is quite efficient. (Scheme 1).2

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 1 Image

Additionally, tert-butyl XPhos and the tetramethyl analogue were recently reported to be excellent ligands for C–O and C–N bond formation. Both were reported to couple phenols with aryl and heteroaryl halides in high yields.3 Perhaps more significant, these ligands have been used in the direct Pd-catalyzed preparation of phenols from aryl bromides and chlorides using KOH as the nucleophile. The phenols can then be converted to alkyl aryl ethers via a one-pot procedure (Scheme 2).4

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 2 Image

Buchwald and co-workers have also reported the use of these ligands in the arylations of 2-aminoheterocycles and difficult N-arylations of various N-containing heterocycles (Scheme 3).5

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 3 Image

Although many methodologies have been developed for C–N coupling reactions, until recently there were no general methods available for the N-arylation of imidazoles. The Buchwald group at MIT has developed a mild and high-yielding approach to arylated imidazoles using catalytic Cu(I) and a 1,10-phenanthroline ligand scaffold (Scheme 4).6 The reaction allows the use of either an aryl bromide or iodide as the electrophile and is tolerant to bulky substituents and various sensitive functional groups.

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 4 Image

Buchwald and co-workers have made significant advances in the area of mild Ullmann-type couplings of aryl halides with primary and secondary amines in the presence of CuI and a β-diketone ligand (Scheme 5).7 The scope of the reaction is rather mild and broad, allowing for heterocyclic structures in either coupling partner, wide functional group tolerance. Moreover, reactions of aryl iodides can typically be performed at ambient temperatures. Similarly, 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-3,5-heptanedione has also been shown to be an effective ligand in the reaction.

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 5 Image

Recently, the Buchwald group has reported complementary copper-catalyzed routes to N- or O-arylated amino alcohols.8 The use of the diketone ligand favors the formation of the N-arylated product (Scheme 6), while use of the tetramethylphenanthroline ligand favors the O-arylated product (Scheme 7). Ligand enhanced N-arylation was most selective for substrates with n ≥ 3, but could also be achieved in absence of the ligand when n = 2. O-arylation was most selective when n ≥ 4.

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 6 Image

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 7 Image

Buchwald and co-workers have also described the highly efficient synthesis of 5-membered ring heterocycles utilizing a one-pot Cu-catalyzed C–N coupling/hydroamidation procedure.9 Treatment of a haloenyne with tert-butyl carbamate or bis(tert-butoxycarbonyl)hydrazine in the presence catalytic CuI and a diamine ligand affords the corresponding pyrrole or pyrazole in high to excellent yield (Scheme 8). Alkenyl bromides and iodides are active in the domino reaction, and fused heterocyclic systems can be formed with ease (Figure 1).

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Scheme 8 Image

Buchwald Phosphine Ligands Figure 1 Image


Product Information

Product Product Name Structure Add to Cart
638072 2-Dicyclohexylphosphino-2',6'-dimethoxybiphenyl (SPhos)
638064 2-Dicyclohexylphosphino-2',4',6'-triisopropylbiphenyl, 97% (XPhos)
695262 2-Dicyclohexylphosphino-2'-methylbiphenyl (MePhos) 695262 Structure Image
638080 2-Di-tert-butylphosphino-2',4',6'-triisopropylbiphenyl, 97% (tert-Butyl XPhos)
675938 2-Di-tert-butylphosphino-3,4,5,6-tetramethyl-2',4',6'-triisopropyl-1,1'-biphenyl
695211 2-Di-tert-butylphosphino-2'-methylbiphenyl (tBuMePhos) 695211 Structure Image
695874 2-Di-tert-butylphosphino-2'-(N,N-dimethylamino)biphenyl (tBuDavePhos) 695874 Structure Image
638021 2-Dicyclohexylphosphino-2'-(N,N-dimethylamino)biphenyl, 97% (DavePhos)
638099 2-(Dicyclohexylphosphino)biphenyl, 97% (Cyclohexyl JohnPhos)
638439 2-(Di-tert-butylphosphino)biphenyl, 97% (JohnPhos)
663131 2-Dicyclohexylphosphino-2',6'-diisopropoxybiphenyl, 95 %
695882 2-Diphenylphosphino-2'-(N,N-dimethylamino)biphenyl (PhDavePhos) 695882 Structure Image
677280 Sodium 2-dicyclohexylphosphino-2',6'-dimethoxybiphenyl-3'-sulfonate
659932 Buchwald Ligands Kit I
687243 Buchwald Ligands Kit II 687243 Kit Image
698903 Buchwald Ligands Kit III 698903 Kit Image
678023 4,7-Dimethoxy-1,10-phenanthroline
162884 3,4,7,8-Tetramethyl-1,10-phenanthroline , 99+%
179760 2-Acetylcyclohexanone, 97%
682675 2-Isobutyrylcyclohexanone
155756 2,2,6,6-Tetramethyl-3,5-heptanedione
D157805 N,N'-Dimethylethylenediamine, 99%
  • ChemFiles 7.1: C–X Bond Formation Click here to view(0.98 Mb PDF).
  • Aldrichimica Acta review on Buchwald’s Phosphines in Pd-Catalyzed Aromatic Bond Forming Reactions Click here to view(2.68 Mb PDF).


  1. For general reviews on Buchwald’s phosphines, see: (a) Mauger, C. C.; Mignani, G. A. Aldrichimica Acta 2006,39, 17. (b) Schlummer, B.; Scholz, U. Adv. Synth. Catal. 2004, 346, 1599.
  2. Billingsley, K.; Buchwald, S. L. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 3358.
  3. Burgos, H. C. et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 4321.
  4. Anderson, K. W. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 10694.
  5. Anderson, K. W. et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 6523.
  6. (a) Altman, R. A.; Buchwald, S. L. Org. Lett. 2006, 8, 2779. (b) Kiyomori, A. et al. Tetrahedron Lett. 1999, 40, 2657.
  7. Shafir, A.; Buchwald, S. L. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 8742.
  8. Shafir, A. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 129, 3490.
  9. Mart?n, R. et al. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 7079.


back to top