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DFT Mechanistic Investigation into BF3-Catalyzed Alcohol Oxidation by a Hypervalent Iodine(III) Compound

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 06:18 authored by Farshadfar, K, Chipman, A, Brian YatesBrian Yates, Alireza AriafardAlireza Ariafard
Density functional theory (DFT) at the SMD/M06-2X/def2-TZVP//SMD/M06-2X/LANL2DZ,6-31G(d) level was employed to explore mechanistic aspects of BF3-catalyzed alcohol oxidation using a hypervalent iodine(III) compound, [ArI(OAc)2], to yield aldehydes/ketones as the final products. The reaction is composed of two main processes: (i) ligand exchange and (ii) the redox reaction. Our study for 1-propanol discovered that ligand exchange is preferentially accelerated if BF3 first coordinates to the alcohol. This coordination increases the acidity of the alcohol hydroxyl proton, resulting in ligand exchange between the iodane and the alcohol proceeding via a concerted interchange associative mechanism with an activation free energy of ∼10 kcal/mol. For the redox process, the calculations rule out the feasibility of the conventional mechanism (alkoxy Cα deprotonation) and introduce a replacement for it. This alternative route commences with α-hydride elimination of the alkoxy group promoted by BF3 coordination, which yields a BF3-stabilized aldehyde/ketone product and the iodane [ArI(OAc)(H)]. The ensuing iodane is extremely reactive toward reductive elimination to give ArI + HOAc in a highly exergonic fashion (ΔG = −62.1 kcal/mol). The reductive elimination reaction is the thermodynamic driving force for the alcohol oxidation to be irreversible. Consistent with the kinetic isotope effect reported experimentally, the α-hydride elimination is calculated to be the rate-determining step with an overall activation free energy of ∼24 kcal/mol.


Australian Research Council

University of Wollongong


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ACS Catalysis










School of Natural Sciences


American Chemical Society

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