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J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Sep 9;137(35):11340-8. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b07770. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

Hydrodecarboxylation of Carboxylic and Malonic Acid Derivatives via Organic Photoredox Catalysis: Substrate Scope and Mechanistic Insight.

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Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3290, United States.


A direct, catalytic hydrodecarboxylation of primary, secondary, and tertiary carboxylic acids is reported. The catalytic system consists of a Fukuzumi acridinium photooxidant with phenyldisulfide acting as a redox-active cocatalyst. Substoichiometric quantities of Hünig's base are used to reveal the carboxylate. Use of trifluoroethanol as a solvent allowed for significant improvements in substrate compatibilities, as the method reported is not limited to carboxylic acids bearing α heteroatoms or phenyl substitution. This method has been applied to the direct double decarboxylation of malonic acid derivatives, which allows for the convenient use of dimethyl malonate as a methylene synthon. Kinetic analysis of the reaction is presented showing a lack of a kinetic isotope effect when generating deuterothiophenol in situ as a hydrogen atom donor. Further kinetic analysis demonstrated first-order kinetics with respect to the carboxylate, while the reaction is zero-order in acridinium catalyst, consistent with another finding suggesting the reaction is light limiting and carboxylate oxidation is likely turnover limiting. Stern-Volmer analysis was carried out in order to determine the efficiency for the carboxylates to quench the acridinium excited state.

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