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Tuning the Reactivity of TEMPO during Electrocatalytic Alcohol Oxidations in Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids

Delorme, Astrid E.; Sans, Victor; Licence, Peter; Walsh, Darren A.


Astrid E. Delorme

Victor Sans

Peter Licence

Darren A. Walsh


2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO) is a promising, sustainable, metal-free mediator for oxidation of alcohols. In this contribution, we describe how the selectivity of TEMPO for electrocatalytic alcohol oxidations in room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) can be changed by design of the solvent medium. Cyclic voltammetry of TEMPO in a series of ammonium-, phosphonium-, and imidazolium-based RTILs reveals that the potential at which TEMPO is oxidized increases from 677 mV (vs. the potential of the decamethylferrocene/ decamethylferrocinium, dmFc/dmFc+, redox couple) to 788 mV as the H-bond basicity of the RTIL anions decreases. The increase in potential is accompanied by an increase in the rate constant for oxidation of benzyl alcohol from about 0.1 dm3 mol−1 s−1 to about 0.7 dm3 mol−1 s−1, demonstrating the ability to manipulate the reactivity of TEMPO by judicious choice of the RTIL anions. The rate of alcohol oxidation in a series of RTILs increases in the order 2-butanol < 1phenylethanol < octanol < benzyl alcohol, and the RTIL 1-octyl-3-methylmidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide ([NTf2]–) shows clear selectivity towards the oxidation of primary alcohols. In addition, the reaction kinetics and selectivity are better in [NTf2]–-based RTILs than in acetonitrile, often the solvent-of-choice in indirect alcohol electrooxidations. Finally, we demonstrate that electrolytic TEMPO-mediated alcohol oxidations can be performed using RTILs in a flow-electrolysis system, with excellent yields and reaction selectivity, demonstrating the opportunities offered by such systems.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2019
Journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Electronic ISSN 2168-0485
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 13
Pages 11691-11699
APA6 Citation Delorme, A. E., Sans, V., Licence, P., & Walsh, D. A. (2019). Tuning the Reactivity of TEMPO during Electrocatalytic Alcohol Oxidations in Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 7(13), 11691-11699. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b01823
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