We report on a direct photochemical method for the one-pot, catalyst- and additive-free synthesis of azoxybenzene and substituted azoxy derivatives from nitrobenzene building blocks. This reaction is conducted at room temperature and under air, and can be applied to substrates with a wide range of substituents. Yields of products derived from para- and meta-substituted nitrobenzenes are typically good, while sterically encumbered ortho-substituted substrates are not as fruitful. Photochemical Wallach rearrangement of generated azoxybenzenes to ortho-hydroxyazoxybenzenes was observed in some cases, most markedly in selected ortho-halogenated nitrobenzenes. Overall, this method provides an efficient, green pathway to highly value-added azoxybenzene products.
Absorption Spectra. 1H NMR, 13C CMR and GC-MS data.