Nucleophilic Attack on Cation Radicals and Cations. A Theoretical Analysis

Sason S. Shaik, Addy Pross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The curve-crossing model is applied to the problem of barrier heights for nucleophilic attack on cation radicals. RH+, and cations, R+. It is shown that the barrier height depends on the ionization potential of the nucleophile, the electron affinity of the cation, and, for cation radicals, also on the singlet-triplet energy gap of the corresponding neutral molecule, RH. It is shown that in general, cation radicals are likely to be less reactive than cations (of the same acceptor ability) toward nucleophilic attack, because the product configuration for cation radicals is doubly excited (D+3*A-), whereas that for regular cations is singly excited (D+A-). A semiquantitative analysis is presented that shows that those cases where cation radicals are likely to react rapidly with nucleophiles can be predicted in a straightforward manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4306-4312
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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