Radical addition to iminium ions and cationic heterocycles

Molecules. 2014 Oct 10;19(10):16190-222. doi: 10.3390/molecules191016190.


Carbon-centered radicals represent highly useful reactive intermediates in organic synthesis. Their nucleophilic character is reflected by fast additions to electron deficient C=X double bonds as present in iminium ions or cationic heterocycles. This review covers diverse reactions of preformed or in situ-generated cationic substrates with various types of C-radicals, including alkyl, alkoxyalkyl, trifluoromethyl, aryl, acyl, carbamoyl, and alkoxycarbonyl species. Despite its high reactivity, the strong interaction of the radical's SOMO with the LUMO of the cation frequently results in a high regioselectivity. Intra- and intermolecular processes such as the Minisci reaction, the Porta reaction, and the Knabe rearrangement will be discussed along with transition metal and photoredox catalysis or electrochemical methods to generate the odd-electron species.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Cations / chemistry*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Ions / chemistry*
  • Models, Chemical*


  • Cations
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Ions
  • Carbon