Copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition

What is copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition?

Copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC), also known as click chemistry, is a chemical reaction that allows for the synthesis of compounds containing a triazole ring. This reaction is a variation of the Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition, which is a well-established method for synthesizing triazoles..

The CuAAC reaction involves the use of a copper catalyst and the reactants azide and alkyne. The reaction is typically carried out in the presence of a solvent, such as water or ethanol..

One of the advantages of the CuAAC reaction is its high yield and efficiency. It is a relatively simple reaction that can be carried out under mild conditions and does not require the use of expensive or specialized reagents. In addition, the CuAAC reaction is highly selective, meaning that it can produce triazoles with a high degree of control over the relative position of the substituents on the triazole ring..

The CuAAC reaction has a wide range of applications in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and materials. It has also been used in the synthesis of natural products, such as flavonoids and terpenoids..


The CuAAC reaction is a valuable tool for the synthesis of compounds containing a triazole ring and has proven to be a reliable and efficient method for the production of these compounds..


The chemical reaction that involves the formation of a 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole through the cycloaddition of an azide and an alkyne. This reaction is typically catalyzed by a copper(I) salt and proceeds through a process known as “click chemistry..”


Ethylene glycol
Sodium azide
Copper(I) sulfate
Sodium ascorbate (reducing agent)

Experimental procedure:

In a round-bottomed flask, combine the ethylene glycol, sodium azide, and copper(I) sulfate.
Add a small amount of sodium ascorbate to the flask as a reducing agent. Heat the mixture to 80°C for 1 hour. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature..

Product: 1,4-Disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole (a triazole compound)

Mechanism of reaction

The mechanism of the CuAAC reaction involves several steps. Here is a step-by-step description of the mechanism:

  • The azide and alkyne reactants are mixed together in the presence of a copper(I) catalyst..
  • The copper(I) catalyst activates the alkyne by coordinating to the triple bond and forming a copper-alkyne complex..
  • The azide nucleophile attacks the activated alkyne, forming a copper-azide complex..
  • The copper-azide complex undergoes a 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition with the alkyne, forming a five-membered ring containing the azide and alkyne substituents..
  • The five-membered ring undergoes ring-opening to form a six-membered ring containing a 1,4-disubstituted 1,2,3-triazole compound..
  • The copper(I) catalyst is regenerated in the process and can be used to catalyze additional CuAAC reactions..