Mechanism of Oxidative Alkoxyamine Cleavage: The Surprising Role of the Solvent and Supporting Electrolyte

Benjamin B. Noble, Philip L. Norcott, Chelsey L. Hammill, Simone Ciampi, Michelle L. Coote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we show that the nature of the supporting electrolyte and solvent can dramatically alter the outcome of the electrochemically mediated cleavage of alkoxyamines. A combination of cyclic voltammetry experiments and quantum chemistry is used to study the oxidation behavior of TEMPO-i-Pr under different conditions. In dichloromethane, using a noncoordinating electrolyte (TBAPF6), TEMPO-i-Pr undergoes reversible oxidation, which indicates that the intermediate radical cation is stable toward mesolytic fragmentation. In contrast, in tetrahydrofuran with the same electrolyte, oxidized TEMPO-i-Pr undergoes a rapid and irreversible fragmentation. In nitromethane and acetonitrile, partially irreversible oxidation is observed, indicating that fragmentation is much slower. Likewise, alkoxyamine oxidation in the presence of more strongly coordinating supporting electrolyte anions (BF4-, ClO4-, OTf-, HSO4-, NO3-) is also irreversible. These observations can be explained in terms of solvent- or electrolyte-mediated SN2 pathways and indicate that oxidative alkoxyamine cleavage can be "activated" by introducing coordinating solvents or electrolytes or be "inhibited" through the use of noncoordinating solvents and electrolytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10300-10305
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkoxyamine
  • cleavage reactions
  • solvent
  • electrolyte
  • electrochemically mediated cleavage
  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • quantum chemistry
  • oxidation behavior
  • TEMPO-i-Pr


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