Published to Nature Communications

Over the past century, significant progress in semipinacol rearrangement involving 1,2- migration of α-hydroxy carbocations has been made in the areas of catalysis and total synthesis of natural products. To access the α-hydroxy carbocation intermediate, conven- tional acid-mediated or electrochemical approaches have been employed. However, the photochemical semipinacol rearrangement has been underdeveloped. Herein, we report the organophotoredox-catalyzed semipinacol rearrangement via radical-polar crossover (RPC). A phenothiazine-based organophotoredox catalyst facilitates the generation of an α-hydroxy non-benzylic alkyl radical followed by oxidation to the corresponding carbocation, which can be exploited to undergo the semipinacol rearrangement. As a result, the photochemical approach enables decarboxylative semipinacol rearrangement of β-hydroxycarboxylic acid derivatives and alkylative semipinacol type rearrangement of allyl alcohols with carbon electrophiles, producing α-quaternary or α-tertiary carbonyls bearing sp3-rich scaffolds.

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-30395-4