Highly selective electrochemical hydrogenation of alkynes: Rapid construction of mechanochromic materials

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Science Advances  24 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaaw2774
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2774


Electrochemical hydrogenation has emerged as an environmentally benign and operationally simple alternative to traditional catalytic reduction of organic compounds. Here, we have disclosed for the first time the electrochemical hydrogenation of alkynes to a library of synthetically important Z-alkenes under mild conditions with great selectivity and efficiency. The deuterium and control experiments of electrochemical hydrogenation suggest that the hydrogen source comes from the solvent, supporting electrolyte, and base. The scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction experiments demonstrate that palladium nanoparticles generated in the electrochemical reaction act as a chemisorbed hydrogen carrier. Moreover, complete reduction of alkynes to saturated alkanes can be achieved through slightly modified conditions. Furthermore, a series of novel mechanofluorochromic materials have been efficiently constructed with this protocol that showed blue-shifted mechanochromism. This discovery represents the first example of cis-olefins–based organic mechanochromic materials.

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