Pericyclic reactions are organic reactions that occur via a concerted mechanism without generating any intermediates. The reactions proceed through the movement of electrons in a closed loop to form a cyclic transition state, where rearrangement of the σ and π bonds yields specific products.
Pericyclic reactions can be classified into three categories: electrocyclic reactions, cycloaddition reactions, and sigmatropic rearrangements. Electrocyclic reactions and sigmatropic rearrangements are intramolecular reactions, while cycloaddition reactions are intermolecular processes. The subclasses can be differentiated based on the number and the type of bonds broken and formed during the reaction.
The characteristic features of pericyclic reactions are listed below:
The stereospecificity of pericyclic reactions can be explained based on the π molecular orbital symmetries of the reactant(s) and products.
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