Scientists have made air-stable compounds that should not be stable in air. Custom-designed carbon chains bonded to zinc control the rate and selectivity of reactions with oxygen and lead to the formation of novel stable zinc peroxides. New metal peroxides are desirable because they are highly effective oxidants that are useful for a variety of chemical transformations. Most metal peroxides are made using transition metals and lack the stability necessary to directly study their role in important catalytic industrial processes. Zinc is not a transition metal, but some of its properties are similar to those of transition metals, and this was crucial to the discovery. Common transition metal peroxide decomposition pathways are blocked when zinc is used. Zinc—oxygen and oxygen—oxygen bond cleavage, for example, are not fast whereas they are if transition metals are used. The lack of decomposition pathways make these zinc peroxides remarkably robust compounds. And, zinc has the added benefit of being inexpensive. These new air-stable organozinc compounds may be useful for a variety of catalytic conversions and also provide new routes to metal alkylperoxides.
Remarkably Robust Monomeric Alkylperoxyzinc Compounds from Tris(oxazolinyl)boratozinc Alkyls and O2