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Title: C–H functionalization reactions enabled by hydrogen atom transfer to carbon-centered radicals
Selective functionalization of ubiquitous unactivated C–H bonds is a continuous quest for synthetic organic chemists. In addition to transition metal catalysis, which typically operates under a two-electron manifold, a recent renaissance in the radical approach relying on the hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) process has led to tremendous growth in the area. Despite several challenges, protocols proceeding via HAT are highly sought after as they allow for relatively easy activation of inert C–H bonds under mild conditions leading to a broader scope and higher functional group tolerance and sometimes complementary reactivity over methods relying on traditional transition metal catalysis. A number of methods operating via heteroatom-based HAT have been extensively reported over the past few years, while methods employing more challenging carbon analogues have been less explored. Recent developments of mild methodologies for generation of various carbon-centered radical species enabled their utilization in the HAT process, which, in turn, led to the development of remote C(sp 3 )–H functionalization reactions of alcohols, amines, amides and related compounds. This review covers mostly recent advances in C–H functionalization reactions involving the HAT step to carbon-centered radicals.
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Journal Name:
Chemical Science
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
12974 to 12993
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. The selective functionalization of remote C–H bonds via intramolecular hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) is transformative for organic synthesis. This radical-mediated strategy provides access to novel reactivity that is complementary to closed-shell pathways. As modern methods for mild generation of radicals are continually developed, inherent selectivity paradigms of HAT mechanisms offer unparalleled opportunities for developing new strategies for C–H functionalization. This review outlines the history, recent advances, and mechanistic underpinnings of intramolecular HAT as a guide to addressing ongoing challenges in this arena. 1 Introduction 2 Nitrogen-Centered Radicals 2.1 sp3 N-Radical Initiation 2.2 sp2 N-Radical Initiation 3 Oxygen-Centered Radicals 3.1 Carbonyl Diradical Initiation 3.2 Alkoxy Radical Initiation 3.3 Non-alkoxy Radical Initiation 4 Carbon-Centered Radicals 4.1 sp2 C-Radical Initiation 4.2 sp3 C-Radical Initiation 5 Conclusion
  2. Abstract

    Photoredox catalysis has provided many approaches to C(sp3)–H functionalization that enable selective oxidation and C(sp3)–C bond formation via the intermediacy of a carbon-centered radical. While highly enabling, functionalization of the carbon-centered radical is largely mediated by electrophilic reagents. Notably, nucleophilic reagents represent an abundant and practical reagent class, motivating the interest in developing a general C(sp3)–H functionalization strategy with nucleophiles. Here we describe a strategy that transforms C(sp3)–H bonds into carbocations via sequential hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) and oxidative radical-polar crossover. The resulting carbocation is functionalized by a variety of nucleophiles—including halides, water, alcohols, thiols, an electron-rich arene, and an azide—to effect diverse bond formations. Mechanistic studies indicate that HAT is mediated by methyl radical—a previously unexplored HAT agent with differing polarity to many of those used in photoredox catalysis—enabling new site-selectivity for late-stage C(sp3)–H functionalization.

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