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Synthesis of oxetan-3-ones

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A general synthesis of various oxetan-3-ones uses readily available propargylic alcohols as substrates and proceeds without the exclusion of moisture or air. The facile formation of the strained oxetane ring provides strong support for the intermediacy of α-oxo gold carbenes. This safe and efficient generation of gold carbenes offers an entry into α-oxo metal carbene chemistry without using hazardous diazo ketones.
L. Ye, W. He, L. Zhang, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132, 8550-8551.