I have several times used arrow pushing on these blogs. But since the rules for this convention appear to be largely informal, and there appears to be no definitive statement of them, I thought I would try to produce this for our students. This effort is here shared on my blog. It is what I refer to as the standard version; an advanced version is in preparation. Such formality might come as a surprise to some; arrow-pushing is often regarded as far too approximate to succumb to any definition, although it is of course often examined.
Mercury (IV) tetrafluoride attracted much interest when it was reported in 2007 as the first instance of the metal being induced to act as a proper transition element (utilising d-electrons for bonding) rather than a post-transition main group metal (utilising just s-electrons) for which the HgF2 dihalide would be more normal (“Is mercury now a transition element?”). Perhaps this is the modern equivalent of transmutation! Well, now we have new speculation about how to induce the same sort of behaviour for caesium; might it form CsF3 (at high pressures) rather than the CsF we would be more familiar with. Here I report some further calculations inspired by this report.
- X. Wang, L. Andrews, S. Riedel, and M. Kaupp, "Mercury Is a Transition Metal: The First Experimental Evidence for HgF4", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 46, pp. 8371-8375, 2007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.200703710
- W.B. Jensen, "Is Mercury Now a Transition Element?", Journal of Chemical Education, vol. 85, pp. 1182, 2008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ed085p1182
- M. Miao, "Caesium in high oxidation states and as a p-block element", Nature Chemistry, vol. 5, pp. 846-852, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchem.1754
Not long ago, I described a cyclic carbene in which elevating the carbene lone pair into a π-system transformed it from a formally 4n-antiaromatic π-cycle into a 4n+2 aromatic π-cycle. From an entirely different area of chemistry, another example of this behaviour emerges; Schreiner’s trapping and reactions of t-butyl-hydroxycarbene, as described on Steve Bachrach’s blog. A point I often make is that chemistry is all about connections, and so here I will discuss such a connection.
- D. Ley, D. Gerbig, and P.R. Schreiner, "Tunneling control of chemical reactions: C–H insertion versus H-tunneling in tert-butylhydroxycarbene", Chemical Science, vol. 4, pp. 677, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c2sc21555a
The following is a short question in a problem sheet associated with introductory organic chemistry.
The concept of kinetic vs thermodynamic control of a reaction is often taught in the context of the enolisation of e.g. 1-methylcyclohexanone as induced by a base. The story goes that at low temperatures (-78°C), the rate of the sterically more hindered thermodynamic enolisation does not compete with the faster kinetic product but that at higher temperatures when an equilibrium is possible, the thermodynamically more stable tetrasubstituted enol is formed. I set out to see if this result can be modelled.
The element silicon best represents the digital era of the mid 20th century to the present; without its crystalline form, there would be no computers (or this blog). Although it was first prepared in pure amorphous (powder) form around 1823 by Berzelius, it was not until 1854 that Henri Sainte-Claire Deville made it in crystalline form, using metallic aluminium to isolate it. He described it  as having a “metallic luster”.
- "The discovery of the elements. XII. Other elements isolated with the aid of potassium and sodium: Beryllium, boron, silicon, and aluminum", 1932. http://doi.org/10.1021/ed009p1386
Homoaromaticity is a special case of aromaticity in which π-conjugation is interrupted by a single sp3 hybridized carbon atom (it is sometimes referred to as a suspended π-bond with no underlying σ-foundation). But consider the carbene shown below. This example comes from a recently published article which was highlighted on Steve Bachrach’s blog. Here aromaticity has resulted from a slightly different phenomenon, whereby a 4π-electron planar (and hence nominally anti-aromatic) molecule is elevated to aromatic peerage by promoting the two carbene σ-electrons to have π-status.
- B. Chen, A.Y. Rogachev, D.A. Hrovat, R. Hoffmann, and W.T. Borden, " How to Make the σ 0 π 2 Singlet the Ground State of Carbenes ", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 135, pp. 13954-13964, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja407116e