Reflections on the mechanism of the Barton-McCombie Deoxygenation and on its consequences†

Abstract : The Barton-McCombie deoxygenation is a landmark reaction in organic chemistry. Its efficiency in generating carbon radicals from alcohols is unmatched, despite the passage of more than 40 years since its discovery. Its mechanism, far from being straightforward, is in fact quite subtle and conceptually part of a much larger family of very powerful thiocarbonyl controlled radical reactions. This general mechanistic manifold encompasses the degenerate transfer of xanthates and related thiocarbonylthio congeners, a process that also subtends the now popular RAFT/MADIX polymerization technology, the remarkably versatile Barton decarboxylation via thiohydroxamate esters, the generation of nitrogen-centered radicals from oxime xanthates and thiosemicarbazones and thiosemicarbazides, and certainly other transformations that will emerge in the coming years. The present overview retraces the history of the Barton-McCombie reaction, the evolution of the mechanistic aspects and the resulting consequences in terms of new transformations and synthetic applications.
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Stuart Mccombie, Béatrice Quiclet-Sire, Samir Zard. Reflections on the mechanism of the Barton-McCombie Deoxygenation and on its consequences†. Tetrahedron, Elsevier, 2018, 74 (38), pp.4969-4979. ⟨https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040402018303077⟩. ⟨10.1016/j.tet.2018.03.042⟩. ⟨hal-02094312⟩

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