Unlocking a diazirine long-lived nuclear singlet state via photochemistry: NMR detection and lifetime of an unstabilized diazo-compound

Procacci, Barbara, Soumya S Roy, Philip Norcott, Norman Turner, and Simon B Duckett. “Unlocking a Diazirine Long-Lived Nuclear Singlet State via Photochemistry: NMR Detection and Lifetime of an Unstabilized Diazo-Compound.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018, 19.


Diazirines are important for photoaffinity labeling, and their photoisomerization is relatively well-known. This work shows how hyperpolarized NMR spectroscopy can be used to characterize an unstable diazo-compound formed via photoisomerization of a 15N2-labeled silyl-ether-substituted diazirine. This diazirine is prepared in a nuclear spin singlet state via catalytic transfer of spin order from para-hydrogen. The active hyperpolarization catalyst is characterized to provide insight into the mechanism. The photochemical isomerization of the diazirine into the diazo-analogue allows the NMR invisible nuclear singlet state of the parent compound to be probed. The identity of the diazo-species is confirmed by trapping with N-phenyl maleimide via a cycloaddition reaction to afford bicyclic pyrazolines that also show singlet state character. The presence of singlet states in the diazirine and the diazo-compound is validated by comparison of experimental nutation behavior with theoretical simulation. The magnetic state lifetime of the diazo-compound is determined as 12 ± 1 s in CD3OD solution at room temperature, whereas its chemical lifetime is measured as 100 ± 5 s by related hyperpolarized NMR studies. Indirect evidence for the generation of the photoproduct para-N2 is presented.

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