Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1987, 52, 2482-2491

Regioselectivity of nucleophilic aromatic photosubstitution in the biphenyl series. Photohydrolysis of some dimethoxynitrobiphenyls

Ján Urban, Petr Kuzmič, David Šaman and Milan Souček

Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 166 10 Prague 6


Anaerobic photolysis of dimethoxynitrobiphenyls IIIa-VIa in aqueous alkaline tert-butanol gave products of nucleophilic photosubstitution of methoxyl by hydroxide anion, while the dimethoxybiphenyls Ia and IIa were found unreactive. Regioselectivity of the reaction was examined in view of a possible “extended meta activation” by the nitro group. The most reactive substrate IIIa gives both C-3 and C-4 substitution products with an unsubstantial preference for the latter, which opposes the “extended meta selectivity” rule. All of the other compounds obey the rule, and 3,4-dimethoxy-3'-nitrobiphenyl (IVa) even displayed absolute selectivity by yielding C-3 substituted compound as the only product. 2,5-Dimethoxy substituted compounds underwent photosubstitution which much lower quantum yields than their 3,4-substituted counterparts, most probably due to some steric hindrance of conjugation. Similarly, 3-nitro-substituted biphenyls exhibited much lower overall reactivity than 4-nitro derivatives.