Catalysis by electrons and holes: formal potential scales and preparative organic electrochemistry
The present review surveys current chemical understanding of catalysis by addition and removal of an electron. As an overarching theme of this type of catalysis, we introduce the role of redox scales in oxidation and reduction reactions as a direct analogue of pKa scales in acid/base catalysis. Each scale is helpful in determining the type of reactivity to be expected. In addition, we describe several means of generating electrons and holes via chemical reactions, plasmonic resonance, radiolytic, photochemical and electrochemical methods. We specifically draw parallels between the now well-established fields of photoredox catalysis and chemical opportunities made available by electrochemical methods. We highlight accessible potential ranges for a series of electrochemical solvents and provide a discussion on experimental design, pitfalls and some remaining challenges in preparative organic electrochemistry.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2015 Organic Chemistry Frontiers Review-type Articles