Reflex carbocation release from covalent molecules by endogenous free radicals

John C. Walton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Carbocations are pervasive in contemporary organic synthesis, so new and innocuous methods of making them are always desirable. A theoretical approach revealed that compounds in which radical generation takes place may release carbocations advantageously. The radical types and molecular substructures that promote this effect were identified. The best substructures were found to be 1,3-dicarbonyl compounds, particularly those based on the Meldrum's acid theme. Sulfate esters and dithiane rings could also be employed. Radicals generated on oxygen atoms or ethyne units were particularly effective. For these species, carbocation release could be reflex, that is, concurrent with radical generation. Only small radical enhancements were observed for release of lithium cations because of the ionic character of most of the precursors. Ethyne units could be incorporated as spacers between the radical center and the site of carbocation generation. Moreover, the enhancement was transmitted down polyethyne chains of at least six units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13290-13297
Number of pages8
JournalACS Omega
Issue number10
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018


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