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Chem Rev. 2016 Sep 14;116(17):9683-747. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.5b00760. Epub 2016 Apr 27.

Photochemical Approaches to Complex Chemotypes: Applications in Natural Product Synthesis.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan , 930 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, United States.
Department of Chemistry, Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD), Boston University , 590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, United States.


The use of photochemical transformations is a powerful strategy that allows for the formation of a high degree of molecular complexity from relatively simple building blocks in a single step. A central feature of all light-promoted transformations is the involvement of electronically excited states, generated upon absorption of photons. This produces transient reactive intermediates and significantly alters the reactivity of a chemical compound. The input of energy provided by light thus offers a means to produce strained and unique target compounds that cannot be assembled using thermal protocols. This review aims at highlighting photochemical transformations as a tool for rapidly accessing structurally and stereochemically diverse scaffolds. Synthetic designs based on photochemical transformations have the potential to afford complex polycyclic carbon skeletons with impressive efficiency, which are of high value in total synthesis.

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