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Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society (BKCS)

ISSN 0253-2964(Print)
ISSN 1229-5949(Online)
Volume 34, Number 1
BKCSDE 34(1)
January 20, 2013 

Efficient Cleavage of Alkyl Aryl Ethers Using an Ionic Liquid under Microwave Irradiation
Se Kyung Park, Oyunsaikhan Battsengel, Junghyun Chae*
Dealkylation, Debenzylation, Ionic liquid, [bmim][Br], Microwave irradiation
A highly reliable dealkylation protocol of alkyl aryl ethers, whose alkyl groups are longer than methyl group, has been developed. We report that various ethyl, n-propyl, and benzyl aryl ethers are successfully cleaved using an ionic liquid, 1-n-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide, [bmim][Br], under microwave irradiation. Despite many characteristics such as lower cost and less toxicity of the alkylating agents, and greater hydrophobicity of the products, longer alkyl ethers have been significantly less exploited than methyl ethers, probably due to more difficulty in the deprotection step. Since it has the same advantages as the demethylation method developed by this group including mild conditions, short reaction time, and small use of the ionic liquids, the dealkylation protocol can greatly encourage the broader use of longer alkyl groups in the protection of phenolic groups. As with our previous study of demethylation using [bmim][Br], the microwave irradiation is crucial for the deprotection of longer alkyl aryl ethers. Unlike the conventional heating, which causes either low conversion or decomposition, the microwave irradiation seems to more effectively provide energy to cleave the ether bonds and therefore suppresses the undesired reactions.
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