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Structure–Reactivity Studies, Characterization, and Transformation of Intermediates by Lithium Chloride in the Direct Insertion of Alkyl and Aryl Iodides to Metallic Zinc Powder

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journal contribution
posted on 03.02.2017, 00:00 by Chao Feng, Quinn T. Easter, Suzanne A. Blum
Employment of fluorophore-tagged alkyl and aryl iodides permitted detection of persistent surface intermediates during their direct insertion to commercially available zinc powder. The sensitivity of this subensemble microscopy technique enabled structure–reactivity studies in the formation of intermediates that are present in quantities sufficiently low as to have been undetected previously by traditional ensemble analytical techniques. These surface intermediates were transformed by lithium chloride, leading to the assignment of the mechanistic role of lithium chloride as changing the rate-determining step in the reaction by lowering the barrier for solubilization of these otherwise persistent surface organometallic intermediates. The temperature dependence/qualitative barrier of the direct insertion step was determined independently from the solubilization step and from the barrier for the overall reaction. Detection of these zinc surface intermediates at the single-molecule level, i.e., of individual surface organometallic species, has been achieved for the first time. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) measurements of the elemental composition of the surface of the zinc powder determined that lithium chloride does not clean the surface of the oxides; instead, pretreatment of the surface with TMSCl effects partial removal of surface oxides after the 2 h pretreatment time previously reported in the empirically optimized synthetic procedure. Current limitations of this microscopy approach are also determined and discussed with respect to the addition of solid reagents during in operando imaging. Characterization of the resulting soluble fluorophore-tagged organozinc/LiCl complex by 1H NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and fluorescence spectroscopy provided insight into its solution dynamics and chemical exchange processes.