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The synthesis of 3,4-dihydroquinoxalin-2-ones via the selective reduction of aromatic, multifunctional nitro precursors catalyzed by supported gold nanoparticles is reported. The reaction proceeds through the in situ formation of the corresponding amines under heterogeneous transfer hydrogenation of the initial nitro compounds catalyzed by the commercially available Au/TiO2-Et3SiH catalytic system, followed by an intramolecular C-N transamidation upon treatment with silica acting as a mild acid. Under the present conditions, the Au/TiO2-TMDS system was also found to catalyze efficiently the present selective reduction process. Both transfer hydrogenation processes showed very good functional-group tolerance and were successfully applied to access more structurally demanding products bearing other reducible moieties such as chloro, aldehyde or methyl ketone. An easily scalable (up to 1 mmol), low catalyst loading (0.6 mol%) synthetic protocol was realized, providing access to this important scaffold. Under these mild catalytic conditions, the desired products were isolated in good to high yields and with a TON of 130. A library analysis was also performed to demonstrate the usefulness of our synthetic strategy and the physicochemical profile of the derivatives.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)

Publication Date





Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University Campus, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.


Gold, Amines, Hydrogenation, Catalysis, Metal Nanoparticles