Research ArticleChemistry

Electrochemical oxidation-induced etherification via C(sp3)─H/O─H cross-coupling

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Science Advances  15 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 20, eaaz0590
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0590


Direct electrochemical construction of C─O bonds through C(sp3)─H functionalization still remains fundamentally challenging. Here, electrochemical oxidation-induced benzylic and allylic C(sp3)─H etherification has been developed. This protocol not only offers a practical strategy for the construction of C─O bonds using nonsolvent amounts of alcohols but also allows direct electrochemical benzylic and allylic C(sp3)─H functionalization in the absence of transition metal catalysis. A series of alcohols and benzylic and allylic C(sp3)─H compounds were compatible with this transformation. Mechanistically, the generation of aryl radical cation intermediates is the key to this C(sp3)─H etherification, as evidenced by radical probe substrate (cyclopropane ring opening) and electron paramagnetic resonance experiments.

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