We report a general protocol for the light-driven isomerization of cyclic aliphatic alcohols to linear carbonyl compounds. These reactions proceed via proton-coupled electron-transfer activation of alcohol O-H bonds followed by subsequent C-C β-scission of the resulting alkoxy radical intermediates. In many cases, these redox-neutral isomerizations proceed in opposition to a significant energetic gradient, yielding products that are less thermodynamically stable than the starting materials. A mechanism is presented to rationalize this out-of-equilibrium behavior that may serve as a model for the design of other contrathermodynamic transformations driven by excited-state redox events.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry