Reversible Bergman cyclization by atomic manipulation

Bruno Schuler, Shadi Fatayer, Fabian Mohn, Nikolaj Moll, Niko Pavlieèk, Gerhard Meyer, Diego Penã, Leo Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


The Bergman cyclization is one of the most fascinating rearrangements in chemistry, with important implications in organic synthesis and pharmacology. Here we demonstrate a reversible Bergman cyclization for the first time. We induced the on-surface transformation of an individual aromatic diradical into a highly strained ten-membered diyne using atomic manipulation and verified the products by non-contact atomic force microscopy with atomic resolution. The diyne and diradical were stabilized by using an ultrathin NaCl film as the substrate, and the diyne could be transformed back into the diradical. Importantly, the diradical and the diyne exhibit different reactivity, electronic, magnetic and optical properties associated with the changes in the bond topology, and spin multiplicity. With this reversible, triggered Bergman cyclization we demonstrated switching on demand between the two reactive intermediates by means of selective C-C bond formation or cleavage, which opens up the field of radical chemistry for on-surface reactions by atomic manipulation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-224
Number of pages5
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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