Peter Roesky, Siegfried Blechert and co-workers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Berlin University of Technology have reported the first use of a dizinc complex as the catalyst in a hydroamination reaction.
Hydroamination is the addition of an N–H bond of an amine to an unsaturated C–C bond to give a molecule that contains nitrogen in one step. This is particularly important because many current amine syntheses are multi-step processes. Zinc complexes are advantageous for hydroamination as they are relatively cheap, air and moisture stable and tolerant to a wide variety of functional groups.
With this in mind Roesky and Blechert decided to test the zincocene complex, Zn2(η5-C5Me5)2, for its hydroamination activity. This complex was discovered in 2004 but it is the first time that it has been used as a catalyst. The team found that the catalyst worked well with good yields and conversions and that it tolerates many functional groups.