Free Radical Chemistry of Phosphasilenes

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Angewandte Chemie, International Edition

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muon spin spectroscopy
conformational analysis

Understanding the characteristics of radicals formed from silicon-containing heavy analogues of alkenes is of great importance for their application in radical polymerization. Bulky and electronic substituent effects in such compounds as phosphasilenes not only stabilize the Si=P double bond, but also influence the structure and species of the formed radicals. Herein we report our first investigations of radicals derived from phosphasilenes with Mes (2,4,6-trimethylphenyl), Tip (2,4,6-triisopropylphenyl), Dur (2,3,5,6-tetramethylphenyl) and NMe2 (dimethylamino) substituents on the P atom, using muon spin spectroscopy and DFT calculations. Adding muonium (a light isotope of hydrogen) to phosphasilenes reveals that: a) the electron-donor NMe2 and the bulkiest Tip-substituted phosphasilenes form several muoniated radicals with different rotamer conformations; b) bulky Dur-substituted phosphasilene forms two radicals (Si- and P-centred); and c) Mes-substituted phosphasilene mainly forms one species of radical, at the P centre. These significant differences result from intramolecular substituent effects.


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