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J Phys Chem A. 2010 Dec 23;114(50):13065-8. doi: 10.1021/jp108690n. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

Concerted Wolff rearrangement in two simple acyclic diazocarbonyl compounds.

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Quantum Electronics Laboratory, Faculty of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, 85 Umultowska, Poznan 61-614, Poland.


The photochemistry of two simple acyclic diazo carbonyl compounds, azibenzil and diazoacetone, were studied using the tools of ultrafast time-resolved spectroscopy. In the former case, UV-vis detection allows observation of an absorption band of singlet benzoylphenylcarbene, decaying with a 740 ± 150 ps time-constant in acetonitrile. IR detection shows that the ketene product of Wolff rearrangement (∼2100 cm(-1)) is formed by two parallel pathways: a stepwise mechanism with carbene intermediacy with a slow rise time-constant of 660 ± 100 ps, and directly in the diazo excited state as confirmed by the immediate formation of an IR band of a nascent hot ketene species. Photolysis (270 nm) of diazoacetone in chloroform leads mainly to the ketene species through a concerted process, consistent with the predominance of the syn conformation in the diazoacetone electronic ground state and a zero quantum yield of the internal conversion process.


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