In the 1970s, Abramovitch and Yamada described the synthesis and electrophilic reactivity of sulfonyliminoiodinanes (RSO2N═IPh), demonstrating the utility of this new class of reagents to function as nitrene equivalents.
Subsequent investigations by Breslow, Mansuy, and Müller would show such oxidants to be competent for alkene and saturated hydrocarbon functionalization when combined with transition metal salts or metal complexes, namely those of Mn, Fe, and Rh. Here, we trace our own studies to develop N-atom transfer technologies for C–H and π-bond oxidation.
This Account discusses advances in both intra- and intermolecular amination processes mediated by dirhodium and diruthenium complexes, as well as the mechanistic foundations of catalyst reactivity and arrest. Explicit reference is given to questions that remain unanswered and to problem areas that are rich for discovery.