Iodanyl Radical Catalysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • ConspectusHypervalent iodine reagents find application as selective chemical oxidants in a diverse array of oxidative transformations. The utility of these reagents is often ascribed to (1) the proclivity to engage being selective two-electron redox transformations; (2) facile ligand exchange at the three-centered, four-electron (3c-4e) hypervalent iodine-ligand (I-X) bonds; and (3) the hypernucleofugacity of aryl iodides. One-electron redox and iodine radical chemistry is well-precedented in the context of inorganic hypervalent iodine chemistryfor example, in the iodide-triiodide couple that drives dye-sensitized solar cells. In contrast, organic hypervalent iodine chemistry has historically been dominated by the two-electron I(I)/I(III) and I(III)/I(V) redox couples, which results from intrinsic instability of the intervening odd-electron species. Transient iodanyl radicals (i.e., formally I(II) species), generated by reductive activation of hypervalent I-X bonds, have recently gained attention as potential intermediates in hypervalent iodine chemistry. Importantly, these open-shell intermediates are typically generated by activation of stoichiometric hypervalent iodine reagents, and the role of the iodanyl radical in substrate functionalization and catalysis is largely unknown.Our group has been interested in advancing the chemistry of iodanyl radicals as intermediates in the sustainable synthesis of hypervalent I(III) and I(V) compounds and as novel platforms for substrate activation at open-shell main-group intermediates. In 2018, we disclosed the first example of aerobic hypervalent iodine catalysis by intercepting reactive intermediates in aldehyde autoxidation chemistry. While we initially hypothesized that the observed oxidation was accomplished by aerobically generated peracids via a two-electron I(I)-to-I(III) oxidation reaction, detailed mechanistic studies revealed the critical role of acetate-stabilized iodanyl radical intermediates. We subsequently leveraged these mechanistic insights to develop hypervalent iodine electrocatalysis. Our studies resulted in the identification of new catalyst design principles that give rise to highly efficient organoiodide electrocatalysts that operate at modest applied potentials. These advances addressed classical challenges in hypervalent iodine electrocatalysis related to the need for high applied potentials and high catalyst loadings. In some cases, we were able to isolate the anodically generated iodanyl radical intermediates, which allowed direct interrogation of the elementary chemical reactions characteristic of iodanyl radicals. Both substrate activation via bidirectional proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) reactions at I(II) intermediates and disproportionation reactions of I(II) species to generate I(III) compounds have been experimentally validated.This Account discusses the emerging synthetic and catalytic chemistry of iodanyl radicals. Results from our group have demonstrated that these open-shell species can play a critical role in sustainable synthesis of hypervalent iodine reagents and play a heretofore unappreciated role in catalysis. Realization of I(I)/I(II) catalytic cycles as a mechanistic alternative to canonical two-electron iodine redox chemistry promises to open new avenues to application of organoiodides in catalysis.

published proceedings

  • Acc Chem Res

altmetric score

  • 5.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Maity, A., Frey, B. L., & Powers, D. C.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Maity, Asim||Frey, Brandon L||Powers, David C

publication date

  • July 2023