Homolytic v Heterolytic Cleavage

Homolytic and heterolytic cleavage are two distinct processes in organic chemistry that play crucial roles in understanding chemical reactions and reaction mechanisms. These cleavage mechanisms describe how covalent bonds are broken during a reaction. Homolytic cleavage involves the breaking of a bond with each atom retaining one of the electrons from the bond, resulting in the formation of radical species. On the other hand, heterolytic cleavage results in the formation of ions, with one fragment retaining both electrons from the bond while the other receives none. Understanding these mechanisms is essential for elucidating reaction pathways and predicting product formation in organic synthesis.