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Detection of Transient Radical Cations in Electron Transfer-Initiated Diels−Alder Reactions by Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry

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journal contribution
posted on 10.11.2004, 00:00 by Sven Fürmeier, Jürgen O. Metzger
The coupling of a simple microreactor to an atmospheric pressure ion source, such as electrospray ionization (ESI) or atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI), allows the investigation of reactions in solution by mass spectrometry. The tris(p-bromophenyl)aminium hexachloroantimonate (1•+SbCl6-)-initiated reactions of phenylvinylsulfide (2) and cyclopentadiene (3) and of trans-anethole (5) and isoprene (6) and the dimerization of 1,3-cyclohexadiene (8) to give the respective Diels−Alder products were studied. These preparatively interesting reactions proceed as radical cation chain reactions via the transient radical cations of the respective dienophiles and of the respective Diels−Alder addition products. These radical cations could be detected directly and characterized unambiguously in the reacting solution by ESI-MS−MS. The identity was confirmed by comparison with MS−MS spectra of the authentic radical cations obtained by APCI-MS and by CID experiments of the corresponding molecular ions generated by EI-MS. In addition, substrates and products could be monitored easily in the reacting solution by APCI-MS.