HNO3-oxidized carbon nanotubes catalyze oxidative dehydrogenative (ODH) carbon-carbon bond formation between electron-rich (hetero)aryls with O-2 as a terminal oxidant. The recyclable carbocatalytic method provides a convenient and an operationally easy synthetic protocol for accessing various benzofused homodimers, biaryls, triphenylenes, and related benzofused heteroaryls that are highly useful frameworks for material chemistry applications. Carbonyls/quinones are the catalytically active site of the carbocatalyst as indicated by model compounds and titration experiments. Further investigations of the reaction mechanism with a combination of experimental and DFT methods support the competing nature of acid-catalyzed and radical cationic ODHs, and indicate that both mechanisms operate with the current material.
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