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Potassium fluoride (KF) is an ideal reagent for fluorination because it is safe, easy to handle and low-cost. However, poor solubility in organic solvents coupled with limited strategies to control its reactivity has discouraged its use for asymmetric C-F bond formation. Here, we demonstrate that hydrogen bonding phase-transfer catalysis with KF provides access to valuable β-fluoroamines in high yields and enantioselectivities. This methodology employs a chiral N-ethyl bis-urea catalyst that brings solid KF into solution as a tricoordinated urea-fluoride complex. This operationally simple reaction affords enantioenriched fluoro-diphenidine (up to 50 g scale) using 0.5 mol % of recoverable bis-urea catalyst.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Chem Soc

Publication Date





2878 - 2883