Swern Oxidation

The Swern oxidation is a modern method of converting primary or secondary alcohols to aldehydes or ketones using oxalyl chloride, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and a base (Et3N) at low temperature. The overall reaction is as follows:


Below are shown the three stages of the Swern oxidation reaction mechanism. ‘Click’ the different stages to view the 3D models of the reaction:


K. Omura and D. Swern, Tetrahedron, 1978, 34, 1651–1660.



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