Applications of microwave (MW)-assistance to radical-mediated organic preparations and procedures are reviewed. Radical additions and cyclisations onto a wide range of acceptors benefited from the technique, as did organic halide reductions by tin hydrides and numerous cascade and sequential processes. Reaction times of chain processes initiated by AIBN were, in several cases, reduced to a few minutes. Regioselectivity in radical additions and ring closures was normally maintained under MW conditions, although stereoselectivities were usually poorer. MW methods have been developed for generation of C-, N-, O-, S- and P-centred radicals. As a result of this a notable number and diversity of heterocycles have been accessed. MW-methods have opened up several new and innocuous alternatives to toxic organotin reagents. Alkoxyamines smoothly release C-centred radicals and oxime ethers provide a variety of iminyl radicals on MW heating. In addition, several types of organo-element and organometallic precursors have yielded novel C-centred and hetero-radicals. To date applications of MW-assistance to homolytic processes are comparatively limited, but it is clear the alliance of the two holds a lot of promise.
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