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Gas-Phase Reactivity of Protonated 2-, 3-, and 4-Dehydropyridine Radicals Toward Organic Reagents

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posted on 10.12.2009, 00:00 by Anthony Adeuya, Jason M. Price, Bartłomiej J. Jankiewicz, John J. Nash, Hilkka I. Kenttämaa
To explore the effects of the electronic nature of charged phenyl radicals on their reactivity, reactions of the three distonic isomers of n-dehydropyridinium cation (n = 2, 3, or 4) have been investigated in the gas phase by using Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry. All three isomers react with cyclohexane, methanol, ethanol, and 1-pentanol exclusively via hydrogen atom abstraction and with allyl iodide mainly via iodine atom abstraction, with a reaction efficiency ordering of 2 > 3 > 4. The observed reactivity ordering correlates well with the calculated vertical electron affinities of the charged radicals (i.e., the higher the vertical electron affinity, the faster the reaction). Charged radicals 2 and 3 also react with tetrahydrofuran exclusively via hydrogen atom abstraction, but the reaction of 4 with tetrahydrofuran yields products arising from nonradical reactivity. The unusual reactivity of 4 is likely to result from the contribution of an ionized carbene-type resonance structure that facilitates nucleophilic addition to the most electrophilic carbon atom (C-4) in this charged radical. The influence of such a resonance structure on the reactivity of 2 is not obvious, and this may be due to stabilizing hydrogen-bonding interactions in the transition states for this molecule. Charged radicals 2 and 3 abstract a hydrogen atom from the substituent in both phenol and toluene, but 4 abstracts a hydrogen atom from the phenyl ring, a reaction that is unprecedented for phenyl radicals. Charged radical 4 reacts with tert-butyl isocyanide mainly by hydrogen cyanide (HCN) abstraction, whereas CN abstraction is the principal reaction for 2 and 3. The different reactivity observed for 4 (as compared to 2 and 3) is likely to result from different charge and spin distributions of the reaction intermediates for these charged radicals.

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