Pericyclic Reactions: Electrocyclic Reactions
Electrocyclic Reactions: Stereochemistry
Two possibilities exist for the stereochemical outcome of these reactions.
In a conjugated polyene the terminal substituents a and b are lying in a plane. In order to bring about cyclization the groups have to rotate out of the plane. If both rotate in the same direction, i.e. the movements are both clockwise (or both counterclockwise) the motion is called conrotatory. It is called disrotatory if one substituent moves clockwise and the other counterclockwise. The stereochemical outcome of an electrocyclic reaction depends on the number of participating electrons and wether it is a thermal or photochemical process.
As a general rule the following applies:
- Stereochemical rules for thermally induced electrocyclic reactions
- 4n + 2 Electrons: disrotatory
- 4n Electrons: conrotatory
- The reverse is true for photochemically induced reactions.