A General Approach to Deboronative Radical Chain Reaction with Pinacol Alkylboronic Esters

27 February 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The generation of carbon-centered radicals from air-sensitive organoboron compounds via nucleohomolytic substitution at boron is one of the most general methods to generate non-functionalized and functionalized radicals. Due to their reduced Lewis acidity, the very popular, air-stable, and readily available alkylboronic pinacol esters are not suitable substrates for this process. Herein, is reported their in situ conversion to alkylboronic catechol esters by boron-transesterification with a substoichiometric amount of catechol methyl borate (MeO–Bcat) telescoped onto a wide array of radical chain processes. This simple one-pot, radical-chain, deboronative protocol allows for the conversion of pinacol boronic esters into iodides, bromides, chlorides, and thioethers. The process is also suitable the formation of nitriles and allylated compounds via C–C bond formation using sulfonyl radical traps. Finally, a particularly mild protocol for the protodeboronation of pinacol boronic esters is given. The power of combining radical and classical boron chemistry, is illustrated with a highly modular 5-membered ring formation using a combination of a three-component coupling reaction and a protodeboronative cyclization.


Radical Reactions
chain reaction
organoboron compounds
pinacol boronic ester
catechol boronic ester

Supplementary materials

SI full final ChemRiv


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