Photocatalytic oxygenation of benzene with oxygen and water to phenol has been achieved under ambient conditions by using the 3-cyano-1-methylquinolinium ion as a photocatalyst (see picture). The mechanism was clarified by detecting the π-dimer benzene radical cation produced by photoinduced electron transfer from benzene to the photocatalyst, and by monitoring the reaction of the radical cations with water molecules.
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