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posted on 25.11.2015 by Emily G. Mackay, Christopher G. Newton, Henry Toombs-Ruane, Erik Jan Lindeboom, Thomas Fallon, Anthony C. Willis, Michael N. Paddon-Row, Michael S. Sherburn
The [n]­radialenes are a unique family of fundamental [n]-membered carbocyclic structures with radiating alkenes, which have attracted significant synthetic and theoretical attention. Whereas [3]-, [4]-, and [6]­radialenes have been prepared and studied, all efforts to synthesize the five-membered ring compound have thus far met with failure. Here we describe the first synthesis of the fundamental hydrocarbon [5]­radialene, C10H10. Our approach was a departure from previous radialene syntheses in that it utilized a low-temperature decomplexation of a stable organometallic compound, rather than high-temperature elimination or rearrangement. Our strategy was guided by analysis of previous radialene syntheses, which indicated rapid decomposition in oxygen, and ab initio calculations, which revealed an extraordinary susceptibility of [5]­radialene to undergo Diels–Alder dimerization/polymerization. The origin of this susceptibility was traced to a small distortion energy associated with the formation of the transition structure geometry from the relaxed reactant monomers and to a narrow HOMO–LUMO gap.