Deprotonation of the radical cations of aromatic amines, such as anilines, generally occurs much more slowly than other fragmentation reactions. Here we report a stereoelectronic effect involving twisting of the anilino group out of the plane of the benzene ring that results in a significantly increased rate of reactivity toward deprotonation. Quantitative studies of the rate constants for deprotonation as a function of aniline radical cation pKa (Brønsted plots) demonstrate that the effect is not simply due to a change in the reaction thermodynamics. By combining this stereoelectronic effect with covalent attachment of carboxylate as a base, aniline radical cations that undergo unimolecular deprotonation with rate constants as high as 10 8 s-1, even in unfavorable protic media, are described.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry