- Corey–House synthesis
The Corey–Posner, Whitesides–House synthesis (also called the Corey–Posner, Whitesides–House reaction) is an organic reaction that involves the reaction of a lithium dialkyl cuprate with an alkyl halide to form a new alkane, an organocopper compound and a lithium halide.
- R2CuLi + R'-X → R-R' + RCu + LiX
This reaction occurs in two steps. The alkyl halide is treated with lithium metal, and solvated in ether, which converts the alkyl halide into an alkyl lithium compound, R-Li. The starting R-X can be primary, secondary or tertiary alkyl halide:
- R-X + 2Li → R-Li + Li-X
The second step requires the alkyl lithium compound to be treated with cuprous iodide (CuI). This creates a lithium dialkyl cuprate compound. These compounds were first synthesized by Henry Gilman of Iowa State University, and are usually called Gilman reagents in honor of his contributions:
- 2RLi + CuI → R2CuLi + LiI
The lithium dialkyl cuprate is then treated with the second alkyl halide, which couples to the compound:
- R2CuLi + R'-X → R-R' + RCu + LiX
If second alkyl halide is not the same as the first, then cross-products are formed.
It is important to note that for this reaction to work successfully, the alkyl halide must be a methyl halide, benzyl halide, primary alkyl halide or a secondary cyclo alkyl halide. The relative simplicity of this reaction makes it a useful technique for synthesizing organic compounds.
This reaction was developed by the co-operation of four organic chemists: E.J. Corey of Harvard University, Gary H. Posner of the Johns Hopkins University, George M. Whitesides of Harvard, and Herbert O. House of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
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