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A Computational Study of Remote C-H Activation by Amine Radical Cations: Implications for the Photochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide

Richardson, Robert David and Carpenter, Barry K. ORCID: 2008. A Computational Study of Remote C-H Activation by Amine Radical Cations: Implications for the Photochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide. Journal of the American Chemical Society 130 (10) , pp. 3169-3180. 10.1021/ja710595u

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A computational study, using density functional theory calibrated against higher-level methods, has been undertaken to evaluate tertiary amines whose radical cations might lose hydrogen atoms from positions other than the α carbons. The purpose was to find photochemically activated reducing agents for carbon dioxide that could be regenerated in a separate photochemical reaction. The calculations have revealed two reactions that might be suitable for this purpose. In one, the nitrogen of the radical cation makes a bond to a remote carbon with simultaneous displacement of a hydrogen atom. In the other, a remote hydrogen atom is transferred to the nitrogen, thereby creating a distonic radical cation that can lose a hydrogen atom β to the radical site. The latter reaction is found to be particularly favorable since it apparently involves a surface crossing that allows the amine radical cation and CO2 radical anion to transform smoothly to a ground-state formate ion and an alkene. A number of structural motifs are investigated for the amines. The lower ionization potential of aromatic amines, compared to their aliphatic analogues, is desirable in that it could permit the use of longer wavelength light to drive the reaction. However, a thermochemical cycle shows that the reduction in ionization potential must be matched by an increase in proton affinity of the amine if the intramolecular hydrogen transfer is to be exothermic. Most aromatic amines do not satisfy this criterion and, hence, would have to rely on the displacement reaction for hydrogen-atom release if they were to be used as renewable reagents for CO2 reduction. Examples of specific aromatic and aliphatic tertiary amines that should be suitable for the purpose are presented, and their relative merits and weaknesses are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Publisher: American Chemical Society
ISSN: 0002-7863
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 13:31

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