Purdue University Graduate School
Thesis-Lei Pan-Final.pdf (25.68 MB)


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posted on 2021-12-20, 16:34 authored by Lei PanLei Pan
Aromatic rings are universal motifs in natural products, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and wide variety of organic materials. Aromatic halides are widely used as synthetic precursors in all these applications. Therefore, tremendous effort has been devoted to activate aryl halides in the past decades. The common methods to activate aryl halides require the use of transition-metals either in the form of Grignard reagents or through the use of transition-metal catalysis.
Over the past decade, photoredox catalysis has attracted significant attention as a cogent tool to develop greener synthetic processes and enable new molecular activation pathways under mild conditions. The most common of these approaches uses a photoredox/nickel dual catalytic cycle.
While this technology has greatly expanded the toolbox of organic chemists, this method still requires expensive rare-metal-based catalyts. Herein, we present a series of visible light-induced methods that are transition-metal-free. These new base-promoted transformations and their mechanistic work will be discussed in the following order:
We will first present our discovery that the dimsyl anion enables visible-light-promoted charge transfer in cross-coupling reactions of aryl halides. This work was applied to the synthesis of unsymmetrical diaryl chalcogenides. This method has a broad scope and functional group tolerance. An electron-donor-acceptor (EDA) complex between a dimsyl anion and the aryl halide is formed during the reaction and explains the observed aryl radical reactivity observed.
Then, a visible-light-induced borylation and phosphorylation of aryl halides under mild conditions was developed. Inspired by the mechanistic breakthroughs observed in the previous work. The mechanism of this reaction also involves an aryl radical that is presumed to be formed also via an EDA complex. In other work, a photo-induced phosphonation of ArI using N,N-diisopropylethylamine (DIPEA) and trialkyl phosphites was developed. This method uses very mild conditions, which allowed the preparation a wide variety of functionalized aromatic phosphonates derivatives, including natural products and medicinal compounds. Finally, a photochemical amination of amides was developed via a C(sp 3 )–H bond functionalization
process under visible light irradiation. This reaction showed good functional group compatibility without the use of external radical initiators, strong oxidants, or heat source. An EDA complex between N-bromophthalimide and LiOtBu is formed during the reaction.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Chemistry

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Sébastien Laulhé

Additional Committee Member 2

Eric Long

Additional Committee Member 3

Martin J. O'Donnell

Additional Committee Member 4

Mingji Dai

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