Concerted and Sequential Pathways of Proton-coupled Electron Transfer in Hydrogen Halide Elimination

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Chemical Physics Letters

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Proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) is a key reaction in a diverse array of chemical and biochemical processes. Concerted PCET, a single step process where no intermediates are expected, is often difficult to distinguish from sequential electron transfer/proton transfer (or proton transfer/electron transfer) events that involve one or more reactive intermediates. Here we demonstrate that in an apparently simple and fundamental organic reaction, hydrogen halide elimination (dehydrohalogenation), both mechanisms occur, with concerted PCET kinetically favored over sequential ET/PT. The latter involves a well-defined reactive intermediate, the corresponding iso-halon.


Chemical Physics Letters, Vol. 556 (2013): 35-38. DOI.