A new strategy to achieve efficient aerobic phosphorylation of five-membered heteraroenes with excellent yields using dichromatic photoredox catalysis in a gel-based nanoreactor is described here. The procedure involves visible aerobic irradiation (cold white LEDs) of a mixture containing the heteroarene halide, trisubstituted phospite, N,N-diisopropylethylamine (DIPEA) as sacrificial agent, and catalytic amounts of 9,10-dicyanoanthracene (DCA) in the presence of an adequate gelator, which permits a faster process than at the homogeneous phase. The methodology, which operates by a consecutive photoinduced electron transfer (ConPET) mechanism, has been successfully applied to the straightforward and clean synthesis of a number of different heteroarene (furan, thiophene, selenophene, pyrrole, oxazole, or thioxazole) phosphonates, extending to the late-stage phosphonylation of the anticoagulant rivaroxaban. Strategically, employment of cold white light is critical since it provides both selective wavelengths for exciting first DCA (blue region) and subsequently its corresponding radical anion DCA•- (green region). The resultant strongly reducing excited agent DCA•-* is capable of even activate five-membered heteroarene halides (Br, Cl) with high reduction potentials (∼-2.7 V) to effect the C(sp2)-P bond formation. Spectroscopic and thermodynamic studies have supported the proposed reaction mechanism. Interestingly, the rate of product formation has been clearly enhanced in gel media because reactants can be presumably localized not only in the solvent pools but also through to the fibers of the viscoelastic gel network. This has been confirmed by field-emission scanning electron microscopy images where a marked densification of the network has been observed, modifying its fibrillary morphology. Finally, rheological measurements have shown the resistance of the gel network to the incorporation of the reactants and the formation of the desired products.
Keywords: dichromatic photocatalysis; gel nanoreactor; heteroarene halides; phosphorylation; visible light.