An efficient method for palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling of aryl chlorides and triflates with sodium cyanate is reported. The protocol allows for the synthesis of unsymmetrical N,N'-di- and N,N,N'-trisubstituted ureas in one pot and is tolerant of a wide range of functional groups. Insight into the mechanism of aryl isocyanate formation was gleaned through studies of the transmetalation and reductive elimination steps of the reaction, including the first demonstration of reductive elimination from an arylpalladium isocyanate complex to produce an aryl isocyanate.
“Palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling of aryl chlorides and triflates with sodium cyanate: a practical synthesis of unsymmetrical ureas”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 11132-5.