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Keywords:

  • aggregation;
  • butyllithium;
  • deprotonation;
  • kinetics;
  • mechanism

Abstract

Kinetic study of the α-lithiation of benzyl methyl ether (BME) by nBuLi has revealed that increasing the concentration of the organolithium compound does not necessarily increase the reactivity, and this is a consequence of the reactivities of the different nBuLi aggregates present in solution. We propose a dimer-based mechanism, in which a pre-complexation step is a key process for substrates bearing a donor oxygen atom that can interact with the lithium cation to form mixed dimers. For these studies, we have developed a system based on UV/Vis spectroscopy that allows kinetic measurements to be conducted at −80 °C under argon.