Twofold π-Extension of Polyarenes via Double and Triple Radical Alkyne peri-Annulations: Radical Cascades Converging on the Same Aromatic Core

A versatile synthetic route to distannyl-substituted polyarenes was developed via double radical periannulations. The cyclization precursors were equipped with propargylic OMe traceless directing groups (TDGs) for regioselective Sn-radical attack at the triple bonds. The two peri-annulations converge at a variety of polycyclic cores to yield expanded difunctionalized polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This approach can be extended to triple peri-annulations, where annulations are coupled with a radical cascade that connects two preexisting aromatic cores via a formal C-H activation step. The installed Bu3Sn groups serve as chemical handles for further functionalization via direct cross-coupling, iodination, or protodestannylation, and increase solubility of the products in organic olvents. Photophysical studies reveal that the Bu3Sn-substituted PAHs are moderately fluorescent, and their protodestannylation serves as a chemical switch for high fluorescence. DFT calculations identified the most likely possible mechanism of this complex chemical transformation involving two independent peri-cyclizations at the central core.