• electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS);
  • Pd(IV) transient intermediate;
  • oxidative coupling reaction


Pd-catalyzed oxidative coupling reaction was of great importance in the aromatic C[BOND]H activation and the formation of new C[BOND]O and C[BOND]C bonds. Sanford has pioneered practical, directed C[BOND]H activation reactions employing Pd(OAc)2 as catalyst since 2004. However, until now, the speculated reactive Pd(IV) transient intermediates in these reactions have not been isolated or directly detected from reaction solution. Electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) was used to intercept and characterize the reactive Pd(IV) transient intermediates in the solutions of Pd(OAc)2-catalyzed oxidative coupling reactions. In this study, the Pd(IV) transient intermediates were detected from the solution of Pd(OAc)2-catalyzed oxidative coupling reactions by ESI-MS and the MS/MS of the intercepted Pd(IV) transient intermediate in reaction system was the same with the synthesized authentic Pd(IV) complex. Our ESI-MS(/MS) studies confirmed the presence of Pd(IV) reaction transient intermediates. Most interestingly, the MS/MS of Pd(IV) transient intermediates showed the reductive elimination reactivity to Pd(II) complexes with new C[BOND]O bond formation into product in gas phase, which was consistent with the proposed reactivity of the Pd(IV) transient intermediates in solution.