A highly efficient [(NHC)AuI]-based (NHC = N-heterocyclic carbene) catalytic system for the hydration of an array of alkynes that operates under acid-free conditions and at very low catalyst loadings (typically 50-100 ppm and as low as 10 ppm) was developed. Terminal and internal alkynes possessing any combination of alkyl and aryl substituents (alkyl/H, aryl/H, alkyl/alkyl, alkyl/aryl, and aryl/aryl) were found suitable substrates in the present catalytic system.
[(NHC)AuI]-catalyzed acid-free alkyne hydration at part-per-million catalyst loadings
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 448-449.