Direct Hydroxylarylation of Benzylic Carbons (sp3/sp2/sp) via Radical-Radical Cross-Coupling Powered by Paired Electrolysis


Diaryl alcohol moieties are widespread in pharmaceuticals. Existing methods for the synthesis of diaryl alcohols require the use of pre-functionalized benzylic alcohols, aromatic aldehydes or ketones as starting materials. Herein, the first convergent paired electrochemical approach to the direct hydroxylarylation of unactivated benzylic carbons (sp3/sp2/sp) is declared. This protocol features direct functionalization of unactivated benzylic C(sp3)–H bonds and benzylic sp2/sp-carbons, mild conditions (open air, room temperature), environmentally friendly procedure (without any external catalyst/mediator/additive), and direct access to sterically hindered alcohols from inexpensive and readily available alkyl/alkenyl/alkynylbenzenes. Mechanistic studies, including divided-cell experiments, isotope labeling, radical trapping, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), reaction kinetics, and cyclic voltammetry, strongly support the proposed radical-radical cross-coupling between transient ketyl radicals and persistent radical anions. Gram-scale synthesis and diversification of drug derivative have visualized the tremendous potential of this protocol for practical applications.

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In the new version, we introduced the previous work of other research groups in detail, highlighting that our method is more economical and green.


Supplementary material

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Supporting information