Decker-Becker secondary amine synthesis

What is Decker-Becker secondary amine synthesis?

Forster first reported this reaction, but it was Decker and Becker who extensively studied and developed it as a method for preparing secondary amines, hence it’s also known as the Decker-Becker secondary amine synthesis, the Decker-Becker method, or Forster-Decker method, or Forster reaction.

Decker-Becker secondary amine synthesis - general reaction scheme - Decker-Becker method - Forster reaction
Decker-Becker secondary amine synthesis

It involves the condensation of primary amines with aldehydes to form an imine intermediate, which then reacts with alkyl halides via alkylation, finally resulting in secondary amines after hydrolysis, although it yields good results with methyl halides, it performs poorly and is unstable when larger alkyl halides are used.

The preparation of secondary amines, particularly alkyl (aryl) methyl amines, can be achieved using this reaction in a broad range of applications.