Carbon-fluorine bonds are the strongest known single bonds to carbon and as a consequence can prove very hard to cleave. Alhough vinyl and aryl C-F bonds can undergo oxidative addition to transition metal complexes, this reaction has appeared inoperable with aliphatic substrates. We report the addition of C(sp3)-F bonds (including alkyl-F) to an iridium center via the initial, reversible cleavage of a C-H bond. These results suggest a distinct strategy for the development of catalysts and promoters to make and break C-F bonds, which are of strong interest in the context of both pharmaceutical and environmental chemistry.
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