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The irradiation of ester 1 in methanol and chloroform does not yield any photoproducts, whereas the photolysis of 1 in dry argon-saturated benzene produces cyclobutanol 4, which is converted to lactone 5 by the addition of HCl. Laser-flash photolysis of ester 1 demonstrates that 1 undergoes intramolecular H-atom abstraction to form the biradical 2 (λmax 310 nm, τ = 200 ns, benzene), which intersystem crosses to photoenols, Z-3 (λmax 380 nm, τ = 30–60 μs, benzene) and E-3 (λmax 380 nm, τ = 11 ms, benzene). Density functional theory calculations were performed to support the proposed mechanism for forming cyclobutanol 4 and to explain how steric demand facilitates photoenol E-3 to form cyclobutanol 4 rather than lactone 5.
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Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences
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