Electrochemical reduction of aromatic ketones in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium-based ionic liquids in the presence of carbon dioxide: the influence of the ketone substituent and the ionic liquid anion on bulk electrolysis product distribution

Shu-Feng Zhao, Michael D Horne, Alan Maxwell Bond, Jie Zhang

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Electrochemical reduction of aromatic ketones, including acetophenone, benzophenone and 4-phenylbenzophenone, has been undertaken in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium-based ionic liquids containing tetrafluoroborate ([BF4]-), trifluoromethanesulfonate ([TfO]-) and tris(pentafluoroethyl)trifluorophosphate ([FAP]-) anions in the presence of carbon dioxide in order to investigate the ketone substituent effect and the influence of the acidic proton on the imidazolium cation (C2-H) on bulk electrolysis product distribution. For acetophenone, the minor products were dimers (<10%) in all ionic liquids, which are the result of acetophenone radical anion coupling. For benzophenone and 4-phenylbenzophenone, no dimers were formed due to steric hindrance. In these cases, even though carboxylic acids were obtained, the main products generated were alcohols (>50%) derived from proton coupled electron transfer reactions involving the electrogenerated radical anions and C2-H. In the cases of both acetophenone and benzophenone, the product distribution is essentially independent of the ionic liquid anion. By contrast, 4-phenylbenzophenone shows a product distribution that is dependent on the ionic liquid anion. Higher yields of carboxylic acids (∼40%) are obtained with [TfO]- and [FAP]- anions because in these ionic liquids the C2-H is less acidic, making the formation of alcohol less favourable. In comparison with benzophenone, a higher yield of carboxylic acid (>30% versus ∼15%) was obtained with 4-phenylbenzophenone in all ionic liquids due to the weaker basicity of 4-phenylbenzophenone radical anion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19247-19254
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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