A direct catalytic asymmetric addition of acetonitrile to aldehydes that realizes over 90 % ee is the ultimate challenge in alkylnitrile addition chemistry. Herein, we report achieving high enantioselectivity by the strategic use of a sterically demanding NiII pincer carbene complex, which afforded highly enantioenriched β-hydroxynitriles. This highly atom-economical process paves the way for exploiting inexpensive acetonitrile as a promising C2 building block in a practical synthetic toolbox for asymmetric catalysis.
- homogeneous catalysis
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