Radical Deuteration with D 2 O: Catalysis and Mechanistic Insights

J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Jan 10;140(1):155-158. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b12105. Epub 2017 Dec 20.


Selective incorporation of deuterium atoms into molecules is of high interest for labeling purposes and for optimizing properties of drug candidates. A mild and environmentally benign method for the deuteration of alkyl iodides via radical pathway using D2O as source of deuterium has been developed. The reaction is initiated and mediated by triethylborane in the presence of dodecanethiol as a catalyst. This method is compatible with a wide range of functional groups and provides the monodeuterated products in good yields and with a high level of deuterium incorporation. It opens promising opportunities for the development of enantioselective radical reactions. Moreover, a revision of the mechanism of the deoxygenation reaction of xanthates using R3B and water (Wood deoxygenation) is presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't