The unique electrocatalytic role of benzoic-acid-protected silver nanoclusters (Agn, mean core diameter 2.5 nm) in the Wolff rearrangement (see scheme) of α-diazoketones is presented. The presence of the Agn0/Agn+ redox couple facilitates nonclassical electron-transfer processes.
In this work we report the unique electrocatalytic role of benzoic acid protected silver nanoclusters (Agn, mean core diameter 2.5 nm) in the Wolff rearrangement (Scheme 1) of α-diazoketones. More specifically, the presence of a Agn0/Agn+ redox couple facilitates a nonclassical electron-transfer process, involving chemical reaction(s) interposed between two electron-transfer steps occurring in opposite directions. Consequently, the net electron transfer between the electron mediator (Agn) and α-diazoketone is zero. In-situ UV-visible studies using pyridine as a nucleophilic probe indicate the participation of α-ketocarbene/ketene as important reaction intermediates. Controlled potential coulometry of α-diazoketones using Agn as the anode results in the formation of Wolff rearranged carboxylic acids in excellent yield, without sacrificing the electrocatalyst.
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