The electrochemical oxidative decarboxylation of carboxylic acid salts that leads to radicals, which dimerize. It is best applied to the synthesis of symmetrical dimers, but in some cases can be used with a mixture of two carboxylic acids to furnish unsymmetrical dimers.
Mechanism of the Kolbe Electrolysis
The formation of side products depends on the ease of the follow-up oxidation which leads to carbenium ions, and their subsequent rearrangement:
Electrosynthesis enables an effective and environmentally friendly pyrrolidinone synthesis via Kolbe decarboxylation, followed by an intramolecular radical cyclization and a radical-radical cross-coupling.
M. Quertenmont, I. Goodall, K. Lam, I. Markó, O. Riant, Q. Wan, Org. Lett., 2020, 22, 1771-1775.