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Visible Light Induced Reduction and Pinacol Coupling of Aldehydes and Ketones Catalyzed by Core/Shell Quantum Dots

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journal contribution
posted on 08.01.2021, 11:45 by Zi-Wei Xi, Lei Yang, Dan-Yan Wang, Chuan-Wei Feng, Yufeng Qin, Yong-Miao Shen, Chaodan Pu, Xiaogang Peng
We present an efficient and versatile visible light-driven methodology to transform aryl aldehydes and ketones chemoselectively either to alcohols or to pinacol products with CdSe/CdS core/shell quantum dots as photocatalysts. Thiophenols were used as proton and hydrogen atom donors and as hole traps for the excited quantum dots (QDs) in these reactions. The two products can be switched from one to the other simply by changing the amount of thiophenol in the reaction system. The core/shell QD catalysts are highly efficient with a turn over number (TON) larger than 4 × 104 and 4 × 105 for the reduction to alcohol and pinacol formation, respectively, and are very stable so that they can be recycled for at least 10 times in the reactions without significant loss of catalytic activity. The additional advantages of this method include good functional group tolerance, mild reaction conditions, the allowance of selectively reducing aldehydes in the presence of ketones, and easiness for large scale reactions. Reaction mechanisms were studied by quenching experiments and a radical capture experiment, and the reasons for the switchover of the reaction pathways upon the change of reaction conditions are provided.