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Photochemical reductions of benzil and benzoin in the presence of triethylamine and TiO2 photocatalyst

Photochemical reductions of benzil and benzoin in the presence of triethylamine and TiO2 photocatalyst
Park J.W.Kim E.K.Park K.K.
Ewha Authors
Issue Date
Journal Title
Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society
0253-2964JCR Link
vol. 23, no. 9, pp. 1229 - 1234
This paper reports the photochemical reduction of benzil 1 to benzoin 2 and the reduction of 2 to hydrobenzoin 4 in deoxygenated solvents in the presence of triethylamine (TEA) and/or TiO2. Without TEA or TiO2, the photolysis of 1 resulted in very low yield of 2. The presence of TEA or TiO2 increased the rate of disappearance of 1 and the yield of 2, which were further increased considerably by the presence of water. The photoreduction of 1 to 2 proceeds through an electron transfer to 1 from TEA or hole-scavenged excited TiO2 followed by protonation. In the reaction medium of 88: 7: 2: 3 CH3CN/CH3OH/H2O/TEA with 2.5 mg/mL of TiO2, the yield of 2 was as high as 85% at 50% conversion of 1. The photolysis of 2 in homogeneous media resulted in photo-cleavage to benzoyl and hydroxybenzyl radicals, which are mostly converted to benzaldehyde. The reduction product 4 is formed in low yield through the dimerization of hydroxybenzyl radicals. The addition of TEA increased the conversion rate of 2 and the yield of 4 significantly. This was attributed to the scavenging effect of TEA for benzoyl radical to produce N,N-diethylbenzamide and the photoreduction of benzaldehyde in the presence of TEA. The ratio of (±) and meso isomers of 4 obtained from the photochemical reaction is about 1.1. This ratio is the same as that from the photochemical reduction of benzaldehyde in the presence of TEA. In the TiO2-sensitized photochemical reduction of 2, meso-4 was obtained in moderate yield. The reduction of 2 to 4 proceeds through two consecutive electron/proton transfer processes on the surface of the photocatalyst without involvement of α-cleavage. The radical 11 initially formed from 2 by one electron/proton process can also combine with hydroxy methyl radical, which is generated after hole trapping of excited TiO2 by methanol, to produce 1,2-diphenylpropenone after dehydration reaction.
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