tert-Butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) efficiently converts a wide variety of sulfides to sulfoxides and sulfones. The method offers the advantage that one product or the other can be obtained in high purity by a modest variation of conditions. The reactions occur smoothly at 25-50°C in chloroform and, to the extent studied, in toluene and methylene chloride. A catalyst is required; the most extensively studied was MeReO(mtp)PPh3, 1, where mtpH2 is 2-(mercaptomethyl)thiophenol. Other chelating dithiolate ligands can be used with comparable results. These oxidations were tested for dialkyl, alkyl-aryl, and diaryl sulfides; thiophenes; and thianthrene. Even the "hard" sulfide, 4,6-dimethyldibenzothiophene (DMDBT) was quantitatively oxidized to the dioxide with TBHP:DMDBT 3.0-3.5 and 0.05-3.8 mol % 1. The mechanism was explored in kinetics studies carried out only for methyl tolyl sulfide. The product buildup curve was complex, with an induction period followed by a rapid growth phase. The kinetic data could be modeled adequately but not perfectly by allowing five rate constants to refine. Their values are consistent with the chemical sense of the mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry