Synthetic chemists are keen to identify catalysts that directly convert C–H bonds to C–N bonds. Natural enzymes are not available for this amination reaction and most currently used chemical catalysts are ill-suited for the functionalization of complex molecules. In this manuscript, the authors report an iron catalysed, highly selective azidation of tertiary C–H bonds under conditions with substrate as the limiting reagent. The reaction tolerates aqueous environments and is suitable for ‘late-stage’ functionalization of complex structures, as demonstrated by the azidation of tetrahydrogibberellic acid, a complex and medicinally relevant molecule.
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