The scheme above shows the first published Suzuki Coupling, which is the palladium-catalysed cross coupling between organoboronic acid and halides. Recent catalyst and methods developments have broadened the possible applications enormously, so that the scope of the reaction partners is not restricted to aryls, but includes alkyls, alkenyls and alkynyls. Potassium trifluoroborates and organoboranes or boronate esters may be used in place of boronic acids. Some pseudohalides (for example triflates) may also be used as coupling partners.
Mechanism of the Suzuki Coupling
One difference between the Suzuki mechanism and that of the Stille Coupling is that the boronic acid must be activated, for example with base. This activation of the boron atom enhances the polarisation of the organic ligand, and facilitates transmetallation. If starting materials are substituted with base labile groups (for example esters), powdered KF effects this activation while leaving base labile groups unaffected.
In part due to the stability, ease of preparation and low toxicity of the boronic acid compounds, there is currently widespread interest in applications of the Suzuki Coupling, with new developments and refinements being reported constantly.