Electrochemical Generation of Aryl Radicals from Organoboron Reagents Enabled by Pulsed Electrosynthesis

Maxime Boudjelel, Jessica Zhong, Lorenzo Ballerini, Ian Vanswearingen, Rossul Al-Dhufari, Christian A. Malapit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aryl radicals play a pivotal role as reactive intermediates in chemical synthesis, commonly arising from aryl halides and aryl diazo compounds. Expanding the repertoire of sources for aryl radical generation to include abundant and stable organoboron reagents would significantly advance radical chemistry and broaden their reactivity profile. While traditional approaches utilize stoichiometric oxidants or photocatalysis to generate aryl radicals from these reagents, electrochemical conditions have been largely underexplored. Through rigorous mechanistic investigations, we identified fundamental challenges hindering aryl radical generation. In addition to the high oxidation potentials of aromatic organoboron compounds, electrode passivation through radical grafting, homocoupling of aryl radicals, and decomposition issues were identified. We demonstrate that pulsed electrosynthesis enables selective and efficient aryl radical generation by mitigating the fundamental challenges. Our discoveries facilitated the development of the first electrochemical conversion of aryl potassium trifluoroborate salts into aryl C−P bonds. This sustainable and straightforward oxidative electrochemical approach exhibited a broad substrate scope, accommodating various heterocycles and aryl chlorides, typical substrates in transition-metal catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. Furthermore, we extended this methodology to form aryl C−Se, C−Te, and C−S bonds, showcasing its versatility and potential in bond formation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • aryl radicals
  • electrosynthesis
  • organoboron reagents
  • pulsed electrochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry

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