Chemical-Reductant-Free Electrochemical Deuteration Reaction using Deuterium Oxide

Xu Liu, Ruoyu Liu, Jiaxing Qiu, Xu Cheng, Guigen Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We report a method for the electrochemical deuteration of α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds under catalyst- and external-reductant-free conditions, with deuteration rates as high as 99 % and yields up to 91 % in 2 h. The use of graphite felt for both the cathode and the anode was key to ensuring chemoselectivity and high deuterium incorporation under neutral conditions without the need for an external reductant. This method has a number of advantages over previously reported deuteration reactions that use stoichiometric metallic reductants. Mechanistic experiments showed that O2 evolution at the anode not only eliminates the need for an external reductant but also regulates the pH of the reaction mixture, keeping it approximately neutral.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13962-13967
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 10 2020


  • DO
  • deuteration
  • electrochemistry
  • graphite felt
  • oxygen evolution


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