Identification of a Self-Photosensitizing Hydrogen Atom Transfer Organocatalyst System

Hiromu Fuse, Yu Irie, Masaaki Fuki, Yasuhiro Kobori, Kosaku Kato, Akira Yamakata, Masahiro Higashi, Harunobu Mitsunuma, Motomu Kanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We developed organocatalyst systems to promote the cleavage of stable C-H bonds, such as formyl, α-hydroxy, and benzylic C-H bonds, through a hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) process without the use of exogenous photosensitizers. An electronically tuned thiophosphoric acid, 7,7'-OMe-TPA, was assembled with substrate or co-catalyst N-heteroaromatics through hydrogen bonding and π-πinteractions to form electron donor-acceptor (EDA) complexes. Photoirradiation of the EDA complex induced stepwise, sequential single-electron transfer (SET) processes to generate a HAT-active thiyl radical. The first SET was from the electron-rich naphthyl group of 7,7'-OMe-TPA to the protonated N-heteroaromatics and the second proton-coupled SET (PCET) from the thiophosphoric acid moiety of 7,7'-OMe-TPA to the resulting naphthyl radical cation. Spectroscopic studies and theoretical calculations characterized the stepwise SET process mediated by short-lived intermediates. This organocatalytic HAT system was applied to four different carbon-hydrogen (C-H) functionalization reactions, hydroxyalkylation and alkylation of N-heteroaromatics, acceptorless dehydrogenation of alcohols, and benzylation of imines, with high functional group tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6566-6574
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 13 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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