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Halonium ion

  A halonium ion in organic chemistry is any onium compound (ion) containing a bridged halogen atom carrying a positive charge. This cation has the general structure R-X+-R where X is any halogen and R any organic residue and this structure can be cyclic or an open chain molecular structure.

Halonium ions were first postulated in 1937 by Roberts and Kimball [1] to account for observed diastereoselectivity in halogen addition reactions to alkenes. They correctly argued that if the initial reaction intermediate in bromination is the open-chain X--C-C+, rotation around the C-C single bond would be possible leading to a mixture of equal amounts of dihalogen cis isomer and trans isomer which is not the case. They also asserted that a positively charged halogen atom is isoelectronic with oxygen and that carbon and bromine have comparable ionization potentials.

In 1970 George A. Olah succeeded in preparing and isolating halonium salts [2] by adding a methyl halide such as methyl bromide or methyl chloride in sulfur dioxide at -78°C to a complex of antimony pentafluoride and tetrafluoromethane in sulfur dioxide. After evaporation of sulfur dioxide this procedure left crystals of CH3-X+-CH3SbF6-, stable at room temperature but not to moisture.

A halonium ion also seems to refer generically to the simpler onium compounds (ions) based on halogens: fluoronium, H2F+; chloronium, H2Cl+; bromonium, H2Br+; iodonium, H2I+.


  1. ^ The Halogenation of Ethylenes Irving Roberts and George E. Kimball J. Am. Chem. Soc.; 1937; 59(5) pp 947 - 948; doi:10.1021/ja01284a507
  2. ^ Friedel-Crafts chemistry. V. Isolation, carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance, and laser Raman spectroscopic study of dimethylhalonium fluoroantimonates George A. Olah, John R. DeMember J. Am. Chem. Soc.; 1970; 92(3); 718-720. Abstract
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Halonium_ion". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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