Switchable radical carbonylation by polarity-regulation

15 November 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Carbonylation reactions involving CO as readily available C1 synthons have become one of the most important tools for construction of carbonyl compounds from feedstock chemicals in modern chemical synthesis. Whereas numerous catalytic methods for carbonylation reactions proceeding via ionic or radical pathways have been reported, an inherent limitation to these methods is the need to control switchable single and double carbonylative formation of value-added products from the same and simple starting materials. Here we describe a new strategy that exploits simple visible-light-driven photoredox catalysis to regulate the polarity of coupling partners to drive switchable radical carbonylation reactions. Controlled trap of various alkyl radicals by single or double CO thereby proceed smoothly with excellent selectivity in the presence of various amine nucleophiles at room temperature, generating valuable amides and α-ketoamides in a versatile and controlled fashion. Combined experimental and DFT computational studies suggest that trap of the initially formed acyl radical by the second molecule of CO to form α-ketoacyl radical is a facile but reversible process; and photoredox-catalyzed SET oxidation of natural nucleophilic amines into relatively electrophilic nitrogen radical cations is responsible for switchable coupling with such two radical intermediates.


switchable carbonylation
radical carbonylation
photoredox catalysis
carbon monoxide

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information for Switchable radical carbonylation by polarity-regulation
Supporting formation for Switchable radical carbonylation by polarity-regulation


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