Heteroleptic Copper Complexes as Catalysts for the CuAAC Reaction: Counter-Ion Influence in Catalyst Efficiency

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A series of nine cationic heteroleptic aryl-BIAN-copper(I) (BIAN = bis-iminoacenaphthene) complexes with the general formula [Cu((E-C6H4)2BIAN)(PPh3)2][X] (E = p-Me, p-iPr, o-iPr; X = BF4, OTf, NO3) 1X–3X were synthesized and fully characterized using several analytical techniques, including NMR spectroscopy and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Except for complexes 2BF4 and 3BF4, which were already reported in our previous works, all remaining complexes are herein described for the first time. Two different strategies were used for the preparation of the complexes: complexes bearing BF4 or OTf counter-ions (1BF4, 1OTf, 2OTf, and 3OTf) were obtained using the appropriate copper(I) precursors [Cu(NCMe)4][BF4] or [Cu(NCMe)4][OTf], whereas for derivatives 1NO3–3NO3, [Cu(PPh3)2NO3] was used. Their activity as catalysts for the copper azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) was assessed alongside other high activity, previously reported Cu(I) complexes. Comparative studies to determine the influence of the counter-ion and of the aryl substituents were performed. All complexes behaved as active catalysts under neat reaction conditions, at 25 °C and in short reaction times without requiring the use of any additive, with complex 2NO3 being the most efficient derivative, along with other NO3-bearing complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number386
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2023


  • 1,2,3-triazole
  • aryl-BIAN ligands
  • CuAAC
  • heteroleptic copper(I) complexes


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