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The Reaction Pattern of Norbornene With Excited State Carbonyl Compounds: Photochemical Preparations of Norbornene Derivatives

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We established that acetylacetone and acetone photolytically sensitize norbornene to undergo an efficient radical addition of solvent (ranging from hexane, cyclic ethers, haloalkanes, acetone, alcohols and acetonitrile) across the double bond. In view of its synthetic applicability, sensitized photoreactions of norbornene were reviewed and their mechanisms were compared. Photolysis of acetylacetone in the presence of norbornene in hexane induced i) acetylacetone to cycloadd to norbornene giving the expected 1,5-diketone, and ii) sensitization by triplet excited acetylacetone to generate reactive norbornene, which underwent dimerization as well as the addition of a solvent molecule by radical chain processes. In other solvents, the radical chain addition of solvent dominated the photoreaction, and superseded the cycloaddition, to give excellent to good yields of adducts to norbornene. While the excited species of acetylacetone for the sensitization was deduced to be its spectroscopic triplet excited state, that for the cycloaddition should involve a different one which may be a twisted triplet acetylacetone; sensitization experiments showed that the cycloaddition did not occur from the spectroscopic triplet state. Triplet excited acetone sensitized norbornene to undergo the same solvent addition more efficiently and cleanly than acetylacetone did. In view of various conflicts existing in the proposed energy transfer mechanism, the sensitized norbornene reactions were rationalized with electron transfer and a cation radical chain mechanism.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6


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