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Evidence is presented for the involvement of ketene intermediates in the thermal transformations of ethyl 4-nitro-1H-imidazol-5-ylethanoates into 4H-imidazo[4,5-c]isoxazole derivatives. Direct heterocyclisation of a 1-(4-nitro-1H-imidazol-5-yl)-3-phenylcarbodiimide intermediate is proposed to account for the reaction of a triphenyl N-(4-nitro-1H-imidazol-5-yl)phosphinimine with phenyl isocyanate exemplifying a new, flexible, and potentially general route to 2-aryl-2H,doi:10.3998/ark.5550190.0003.308 fatcat:t2ybarylanazrlniyb6qgmnjha