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Zinc–copper couple is an alloy of zinc and copper that is employed as a reagent in organic synthesis. The couple has been widely applied as a reagent in other reactions requiring activated zinc metal. Zinc–copper couple does not refer to a rigorously defined chemical structure or alloy composition. The couple may contain varying proportions of copper and zinc; the zinc content is typically greater than 90%, although an alloy containing similar proportions of zinc and copper is used in some cases. The couple is frequently prepared as a darkly-colored powder and is slurried in an ethereal solvent prior to being used in slight excess relative to the substrate. Activation of zinc by copper is essential to the couple’s utility, but the origin of this effect is poorly documented. It is speculated that copper enhances reactivity of zinc at the surface of the alloy.
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