Background: The oxidation of benzylic alcohols to carbonyl compounds is a fundamental reaction in organic synthesis. In traditional oxidation processes, a large amount of toxic and volatile organic solvents and metal oxidants are used. Thus, developing environmentally benign oxidation
processes is an important goal. N-Bromosuccinimide (NBS) is an inexpensive and convenient oxidant widely used in a variety of oxidative reactions under acidic or alkaline conditions.
Methods: In this paper, we developed a simple, mild, and efficient oxidation of benzylic alcohols in the
presence of N-bromosuccinimide (NBS)/KOAc in aqueous solution (H2O/CH2Cl2 = 3:1).
Results: A series of benzylic alcohols were oxidized selectively to the corresponding ketones in moderate to excellent yields at room temperature.
Conclusion: This reaction was carried out using a wide
variety of substrates, required no metal catalyst, and proved to be tolerant towards a variety of different functional groups.