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Org Biomol Chem. 2012 Dec 21;10(47):9491-500. doi: 10.1039/c2ob26658j. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Theoretical studies on Grignard reagent formation: radical mechanism versus non-radical mechanism.

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1
State Key Laboratory for Physical Chemistry of Solid Surface, Department of Chemistry, Xiamen University, 361005, China.

Abstract

Here we present a systematic theoretical investigation on the mechanisms of Grignard reagent formation (GRF) for CH(3)Cl reacting with Mg atom, Mg(2) and a series of Mg clusters (Mg(4)-Mg(20)). Our calculations reveal that the ground state Mg atom is inactive under matrix condition, whereas it is active under metal vapor synthesis (MVS) conditions. On the other hand, the excited state Mg ((3)P) atom, as produced by laser-ablation, can react with CH(3)Cl barrierlessly, and hence is active under matrix condition. We predict that the bimagnesium Grignard reagent, though often proposed, can barely be observed experimentally, due to its high reactivity towards additional CH(3)Cl to produce more stable Grignard reagent dimer, and that the cluster Grignard reagent RMg(4)X possesses a flat Mg(4) unit rather than a tetrahedral geometry. Our calculations further reveal that the radical pathway (T4) is prevalent on Mg, Mg(2) and Mg(n) clusters of small size, while the no-radical pathway (T2), which starts at Mg(4), becomes competitive with T4 as the cluster size increases. A structure-reactivity relationship between barrier heights and ionization potentials of Mg(n) is established. These findings not only resolve controversy in experiment and theory, but also provide insights which can be used in the design of effective synthesis approaches for the preparation of chiral Grignard reagents.

PMID:
23132377
DOI:
10.1039/c2ob26658j
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