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Constructing Quaternary Carbons from N‑(Acyloxy)phthalimide Precursors of Tertiary Radicals Using Visible-Light Photocatalysis


Tertiary carbon radicals have notable utility for uniting complex carbon fragments with concomitant formation of new quaternary carbons. This article explores the scope, limitations, and certain mechanistic aspects of Okada's method for forming tertiary carbon radicals from N-(acyloxy)phthalimides by visible-light photocatalysis. Optimized conditions for generating tertiary radicals from N-(acyloxy)phthalimide derivatives of tertiary carboxylic acids by visible-light irradiation in the presence of 1 mol % of commercially available Ru(bpy)3(PF6)2, diethyl 1,4-dihydro-2,6-dimethylpyridine-3,5-dicarboxylate (8), and i-Pr2NEt and their coupling in dichloromethane at room temperature with alkene acceptors were developed. Four representative tertiary N-(acyloxy)phthalimides and 15 alkene radical acceptors were examined. Both reductive couplings with electron-deficient alkenes and radical substitution reactions with allylic and vinylic bromides and chlorides were examined with many such reactions occurring in good yield using only a slight excess (typically 1.5 equiv) of the alkene. In general, the yields of these photocatalytic reactions were higher than the analogous transformations of the corresponding N-phthalimidoyl oxalates. Deuterium labeling and competition experiments reveal that the reductive radical coupling of tertiary N-(acyloxy)phthalimides with electron-deficient alkenes can be terminated by both hydrogen-atom transfer and single-electron reduction followed by protonation, and that this mechanistic duality is controlled by the presence or absence of i-Pr2NEt.

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