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Single Electron Transfers in the Reactions of Carbanions

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In assessing the possible role of single-electron-transfer processes in the preparation and reactions of Group 1 and Group 2 organometallic compounds we have proceeded from a discussion of the well-established and abundantly characterized Schlenk adducts to the more labile radical-anions generated and detected in solution and finally to a consideration of the likely role of SET processes in the mechanisms of a wide variety of carbanion reactions. As to the validity of our conclusions concerning such SET processes, it is well to remind ourselves that no mechanistic study proves any reaction mechanism beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt. All we can expect of a suggested reaction mechanism is that it explain all existing experimental data with a economy of speculation (Occam's razor) or that it be abandoned if it cannot account for every significant observation. It is in this sense that this chemist judges that the hypothesis of SET processes promises to be of continuing value in chemical research.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, The State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000, USA


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