Radical Reactivity of Frustrated Lewis Pairs with Diaryl Esters

Yashar Soltani, Ayan Dasgupta, Theodore A. Gazis, Darren M.C. Ould, Emma Richards, Ben Slater, Katarina Stefkova, Vladimir Y. Vladimirov, Lewis C. Wilkins, Darren Willcox, Rebecca L. Melen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advances in the chemistry of metal-free systems known as frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs) has exposed new reactivity of the p-block elements, particularly in small-molecule activation and catalysis. Typically, the mode of activation by FLPs has been predicated on a heterolytic two-electron process, although recently, select FLPs have been shown to participate in single-electron processes. Here, we report the reaction of diaryl substituted esters with FLPs. This results in divergent pathways, one whereby the diaryl moiety is stabilized by the Lewis basic phosphine, and the alternative pathway, wherein a single-electron transfer process occurs, generating the [Mes3P]+⋅/[C(H)Ar2]⋅ radical ion pair. The latter species undergoes a homocoupling reaction to yield tetraphenylethane derivatives. In the presence of olefins, this reactivity can be harnessed through an sp2-sp3 C–C heterocoupling reaction to generate α,β-substituted olefins. Notably, this work showcases an FLP approach to metal-free radical C–H bond activation with subsequent C–C bond formation, which also displays complementary reactivity to other approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100016
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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