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Any process by which the normal alternating donor and acceptor reactivity pattern of a chain, which is due to the presence of O or N heteroatoms, is interchanged. Reactivity umpolung is most often achieved by temporary exchange of heteroatoms (N, O) by others, such as P, S and Se. The original meaning of the term has been extended to the reversal of any commonly accepted reactivity pattern. For example, reaction of R–C≡CX (X = halide) as a synthon for 'R–C≡C+ (i.e. electrophilic acetylene) is an umpolung of the normal more common acetylide, R–C≡C (i.e. nucleophilic) reactivity.
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077 (Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)) on page 1174
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IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8.
Last update: 2014-02-24; version: 2.3.3.
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