The combination of the surface-adhesive properties of catechol rings and functional moieties conveying specific properties is very appealing to materials chemistry, but the preparation of catechol derivatives often requires elaborate synthetic routes to circumvent the intrinsic reactivity of the catechol ring. In this work, functional catechols are synthesized straightforwardly by using the bioinspired reaction of several functional thiols with o-benzoquinone. With one exception, the conjugated addition of the thiol takes place regioselectively at the 3-position of the quinone, and is rationalized by DFT calculations. Overall, this synthetic methodology provides a general and straightforward access to functional and chain-extended catechol derivatives, which are later tested with regard to their hydro-/oleophobicity, colloidal stability, fluorescence, and metal-coordinating capabilities in proof-of-concept applications.
Mancebo-Aracil, J., Casagualda, C., Moreno-Villaécija, M. Á., Nador, F., García-Pardo, J., Franconetti-García, A., … Sedó-Vegara, J. (2019). Bioinspired Functional Catechol Derivatives through Simple Thiol Conjugate Addition. Chemistry - A European Journal, 25(53), 12367–12379. https://doi.org/10.1002/chem.201901914