Benzhydrylium and tritylium ions: complementary probes for examining ambident nucleophiles

Pure and Applied Chemistry, 2015, 4, 341-351

Pure Appl. Chem.

The linear free energy relationship log k = sN(N + E) (eq. 1), in which E is an electrophilicity, N is a nucleophilicity, and sN is a nucleophile-dependent sensitivity parameter, is a reliable tool for predicting rate constants of bimolecular electrophile-nucleophile combinations. Nucleophilicity scales that are based on eq. (1) rely on a set of structurally similar benzhydrylium ions (Ar2CH+) as reference electrophiles. As steric effects are not explicitely considered, eq. (1) cannot unrestrictedly be employed for reactions of bulky substrates. Since, on the other hand, the reactions of tritylium ions (Ar3C+) with hydride donors, alcohols, and amines were found to follow eq. (1), tritylium ions turned out to be complementary tools for probing organic reactivity. Kinetics of the reactions of Ar3C+ with π-nucleophiles (olefins), n-nucleophiles (amines, alcohols, water), hydride donors and ambident nucleophiles, such as the anions of 5-substituted Meldrum’s acids, are discussed to analyze the applicability of tritylium ions as reference electrophiles.

TU München