Nitrophenyl ethers are photoreduced by primary amines in water through a mechanism initiated by single electron transfer that is in direct competition with the single electron transfer photosubstitution mechanism (S(N)Ar*-SET). Our results indicate that the preferred pathway does not depend on the electron donor or proton donor ability of the amine. The key factor that determines the progress of the photoreaction is the structure of the carbon skeleton of the amine, particularly the type of hydrogens on the carbon α to the amino group. A mechanistic rationale that includes hydrogen atom transfer as a key step is discussed.
- Electron transfer
- Nitro compounds