Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Previously Published Works bannerUC Riverside

H+, CH3 +, and R3Si+ Carborane Reagents: When Triflates Fail

Published Web Location

For decades, triflic acid, methyl triflate, and trialkylsilyl triflate reagents have served synthetic chemistry well as clean, strong electrophilic sources of H(+), CH(3)(+), and R(3)Si(+), respectively. However, a number of weakly basic substrates are unreactive toward these reagents. In addition, triflate anion can express undesired nucleophilicity toward electrophilically activated substrates. In this Account, we describe methods that replace triflate-based electrophilic reagents with carborane reagents. Using carborane anions of type CHB(11)R(5)X(6)(-) (R = H, Me, X; X = Br, Cl), members of a class of notably inert, weakly nucleophilic anions, significantly increases the electrophilicity of these reagents and shuts down subsequent nucleophilic chemistry of the anion. Thus, H(carborane) acids cleanly protonate benzene, phosphabenzene, C(60), etc., while triflic acid does not. Similarly, CH(3)(carborane) reagents can methylate substrates that are inert to boiling neat methyl triflate, including benzene, phosphabenzenes, phosphazenes, and the pentamethylhydrazinium ion, which forms the dipositive ethane analogue, Me(6)N(2)(2+). Methyl carboranes are also surprisingly effective in abstracting hydride from simple alkanes to give isolable carbocation salts, e.g., t-butyl cation. Trialkylsilyl carborane reagents, R(3)Si(carborane), abstract halides from substrates to produce cations of unprecedented reactivity. For example, fluoride is extracted from freons to form carbocations; chloride is extracted from IrCl(CO)(PPh(3))(2) to form a coordinatively unsaturated iridium cation that undergoes oxidative addition with chlorobenzene at room temperature; and silylation of cyclo-N(3)P(3)Cl(6) produces a catalyst for the polymerization of phosphazenes that functions at room temperature. Although currently too expensive for widespread use, carborane reagents are nevertheless of considerable interest as specialty reagents for making reactive cations and catalysts.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View