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Synthesis of α-lactams (aziridinones)

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A high-yielding general synthesis of α-lactams (aziridinones) is described. An α-haloamide precursor is cyclized by sodium hydride in the presence of 15-crown-5 ether at room temperature, using dichloromethane as the solvent. The by-products, hydrogen gas and sodium halide, are easily removed.
V. Cesare, T. M. Lyons, I. Lengyel, Synthesis, 2002, 1716-1720.