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Sulfonate esters refer to a class of compounds that are esters of sulfonic acid bearing the functional group R-SO2O-, where R is any organic moiety connected through carbon. These esters are a good leaving group for Sn1, Sn2, E1 and E2 reactions, and sulfonate esters also find use as reagents in organic synthesis. Sulfonate esters allow the sulfonate group to function as an even better leaving group than chlorine and bromine.
Triflates such as methyl triflate are used as methylating agents. Cyclic sulfonic esters called sultones are strong alkylating agents while simultaneously introducing a negatively charged sulfonate group. In the nucleoside field, 2-arylethanesulfonic esters are used as 2-hydroxy protecting groups. Sulfonate esters are used to improve water solubility for protein cross linkers such as N-hydroxysulfosuccinimide. Methyl ester sulfonates are used as good surfactants. Sulfonic esters act as catalysts for cross-linking of polymers having hydroxyl, carboxyl, and amide functionality. Such polymeric film coatings give superior hardness, impact resistance, adhesion, improved blister resistance, salt spray characteristics, and flexibility. Sulfonic esters are also found to be effective in coil primer formulations containing calcium ion.