More useful generally than the Gilman reagents are the so-called mixed cuprates with the formula [RCuX]− and [R2CuX]2−. Such compounds are often prepared by the addition of the organolithium reagent to copper(I) halides and cyanide. These mixed cuprates are more stable and more readily purified. One problem addressed by mixed cuprates is the economical use of the alkyl group. Thus, in some applications, the mixed cuprate has the formula Li2[Cu(2-thienyl)(CN)R] is prepared by combining thienyllithium and cuprous cyanide followed by the organic group to be transferred. In this higher order mixed cuprate, both the cyanide and thienyl groups do not transfer, only the R group does.
^H. Hope; M. M. Olmstead; P. P. Power; J. Sandell; X. Xu (1985). "Isolation and x-ray crystal structures of the mononuclear cuprates [CuMe2]−, [CuPh2]−, and [Cu(Br)CH(SiMe3)2]−". J. Am. Chem. Soc.107 (14): 4337–4338. doi:10.1021/ja00300a047.
^Steven H. Bertz, Edward H. Fairchild, Karl Dieter, "Copper(I) Cyanide" in Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis 2005, John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/047084289X.rc224.pub2