While heating 1,2,4,5-tetramethyl-3,6-bis(phenylethynyl)benzene, 1,3,5-trimethyl-2,4-bis(phenylethynyl)benzene, and 1,2,4,5-tetramethyl-3-(phenylethynyl)benzene with iodine in DMSO in the absence of oxygen, the triple bonds are oxidized to give the corresponding 1,2-diketones. In the presence of oxygen, the previously unknown competitive oxidative process causes the cleavage of the aryl-ethynyl bonds so that duroquinone and the corresponding 4-hydroxybenzils are formed. This cleavage is produced by oxygen only in the presence of iodine and DMSO. It was shown that the key stage of the process is the formation of intermediate charge-transfer complexes between polymethylbenzene rings and iodine.
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