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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2001 Aug;12(8):948-55.

Gas-phase SN2 reactivity of dicoordinated borinium cations using pentaquadrupole mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-1393, USA.


We report gas phase ion/molecule reactions between dialkoxyborinium cations (RO-B+-OR) and small organic amides, such as N,N-dimethylformamide and N,N-diethylpropionamide. Besides direct addition at boron, the results show efficient SN2 methyl transfer from the borinium ion to the amide. Isotopic labeling and collision-induced dissociation (CID) of the methyl transfer products demonstrate O-methylation of the amide. Methyl substitution at the alpha-carbon of the amide affects the degree of alkylation and adduct formation. Direct proton abstraction via beta-elimination is a major competitive reaction for substituents other than methyl. Ab initio calculations at the B3LYP/6-31G(d) level indicate that SN2 transmethylation is highly exothermic with O-methylation favored over N-methylation by 14.8 kcal/mol.

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