O2-promoted allylic acetoxylation of alkenes: Assessment of "push" versus "pull" mechanisms and comparison between O2 and benzoquinone

Tianning Diao, Shannon S. Stahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Palladium-catalyzed acetoxylation of allylic C-H bonds has been the subject of extensive study. These reactions proceed via allyl-palladium(II) intermediates that react with acetate to afford the allyl acetate product. Benzoquinone and molecular oxygen are two common oxidants for these reactions. Benzoquinone has been shown to promote allyl acetate formation from well-defined π-allyl palladium(II) complexes. Here, we assess the ability of O2 to promote similar reactions with a series of "unligated" π-allyl palladium(II) complexes (i.e., in the absence of ancillary phosphorus, nitrogen or related donor ligands). Stoichiometric and catalytic allyl acetate formation is observed under aerobic conditions with several different alkenes. Mechanistic studies are most consistent with a "pull" mechanism in which O2 traps the Pd0 intermediate following reversible C-O bond formation from an allyl-palladium(II) species. A "push" mechanism, involving oxidatively induced C-O bond formation, does not appear to participate. These results and conclusions are compared with benzoquinone-promoted allylic acetoxylation, in which a "push" mechanism seems to be operative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 14 2014


  • Aerobic
  • Allylic
  • C-H activation
  • Oxidation
  • Palladium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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