Archive for the ‘crystal_structure_mining’ Category

First, hexacoordinate carbon – now pentacoordinate nitrogen?

Saturday, March 25th, 2017
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A few years back I followed a train of thought here which ended with hexacoordinate carbon, then a hypothesis rather than a demonstrated reality. That reality was recently confirmed via a crystal structure, DOI:10.5517/CCDC.CSD.CC1M71QM[1]. Here is a similar proposal for penta-coordinate nitrogen.

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References

  1. M. Malischewski, and K. Seppelt, "Crystal Structure Determination of the Pentagonal-Pyramidal Hexamethylbenzene Dication C6 (CH3 )6 2+ ", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 56, pp. 368-370, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201608795

Silyl cations?

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
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It is not only the non-classical norbornyl cation that has proved controversial in the past. A colleague mentioned at lunch (thanks Paul!) that tri-coordinate group 14 cations such as R3Si+ have also had an interesting history.[1] Here I take a brief look at some of these systems.

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References

  1. J.B. Lambert, Y. Zhao, H. Wu, W.C. Tse, and B. Kuhlmann, "The Allyl Leaving Group Approach to Tricoordinate Silyl, Germyl, and Stannyl Cations", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 121, pp. 5001-5008, 1999. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja990389u

Peroxydisulfate – “enables a non-enzymatic Krebs cycle precursor”

Sunday, March 19th, 2017
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The Wikipedia entry on peroxydisulfate is quite short (as of today). But I suspect this article may change things.[1].

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References

  1. M.A. Keller, D. Kampjut, S.A. Harrison, and M. Ralser, "Sulfate radicals enable a non-enzymatic Krebs cycle precursor", Nature Ecology & Evolution, vol. 1, pp. 0083, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0083

Pyrophoric metals + the mechanism of thermal decomposition of magnesium oxalate.

Sunday, March 19th, 2017
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A pyrophoric metal is one that burns spontaneously in oxygen; I came across this phenomenon as a teenager doing experiments at home. Pyrophoric iron for example is prepared by heating anhydrous iron (II) oxalate in a sealed test tube (i.e. to 600° or higher). When the tube is broken open and the contents released, a shower of sparks forms. Not all metals do this; early group metals such as calcium undergo a different reaction releasing carbon monoxide and forming calcium carbonate and not the metal itself. Here as a prelude to the pyrophoric reaction proper, I take a look at this alternative mechanism using calculations.

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Ammonium tetraphenylborate and the mystery of its π-facial hydrogen bonding.

Friday, March 10th, 2017
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A few years back, I did a post about the Pirkle reagent[1] and the unusual π-facial hydrogen bonding structure[2] it exhibits. For the Pirkle reagent, this bonding manifests as a close contact between the acidic OH hydrogen and the edge of a phenyl ring; the hydrogen bond is off-centre from the middle of the aryl ring. Here I update the topic, with a new search of the CSD (Cambridge structure database), but this time looking at the positional preference of that bond and whether it is on or off-centre. 

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References

  1. H.S. Rzepa, M.L. Webb, A.M.Z. Slawin, and D.J. Williams, "? Facial hydrogen bonding in the chiral resolving agent (S)-2,2,2-trifluoro-1-(9-anthryl)ethanol and its racemic modification", Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, pp. 765, 1991. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c39910000765
  2. H.S. Rzepa, M.H. Smith, and M.L. Webb, "A crystallographic AM1 and PM3 SCF-MO investigation of strong OH ⋯π-alkene and alkyne hydrogen bonding interactions", J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 2, pp. 703-707, 1994. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/P29940000703

Stable “unstable” molecules: a crystallographic survey of cyclobutadienes and cyclo-octatetraenes.

Sunday, March 5th, 2017
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Cyclobutadiene is one of those small iconic molecules, the transience and instability of which was explained theoretically long before it was actually detected in 1965.[1] Given that instability, I was intrigued as to how many crystal structures might have been reported for this ring system, along with the rather more stable congener cyclo-octatetraene. Here is what I found.

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References

  1. L. Watts, J.D. Fitzpatrick, and R. Pettit, "Cyclobutadiene", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 87, pp. 3253-3254, 1965. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja01092a049

Na2He: a stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure.

Saturday, February 11th, 2017
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On February 6th I was alerted to this intriguing article[1] by a phone call, made 55 minutes before the article embargo was due to be released. Gizmodo wanted to know if I could provide an (almost) instant quote. After a few days, this report of a stable compound of helium and sodium still seems impressive to me and I now impart a few more thoughts here.

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References

  1. X. Dong, A.R. Oganov, A.F. Goncharov, E. Stavrou, S. Lobanov, G. Saleh, G. Qian, Q. Zhu, C. Gatti, V.L. Deringer, R. Dronskowski, X. Zhou, V.B. Prakapenka, Z. Konôpková, I.A. Popov, A.I. Boldyrev, and H. Wang, "A stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure", Nature Chemistry, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2716

The dipole moments of highly polar molecules: glycine zwitterion.

Saturday, December 24th, 2016
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The previous posts produced discussion about the dipole moments of highly polar molecules. Here to produce some reference points for further discussion I look at the dipole moment of glycine, the classic zwitterion (an internal ion-pair).

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Molecules of the year? Pnictogen chains and 16 coordinate Cs.

Monday, December 19th, 2016
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I am completing my survey of the vote for molecule of the year candidates, which this year seems focused on chemical records of one type or another.

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Molecule of the year? “CrN123”, a molecule with three different types of Cr-N bond.

Friday, December 16th, 2016
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Here is a third candidate for the C&EN “molecule of the year” vote. This one was shortlisted because it is the first example of a metal-nitrogen complex exhibiting single, double and triple bonds from different nitrogens to the same metal[1] (XUZLUB has a 3D display available at DOI: 10.5517/CC1JYY6M). Since no calculation of its molecular properties was reported, I annotate some here.

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References

  1. E.P. Beaumier, B.S. Billow, A.K. Singh, S.M. Biros, and A.L. Odom, "A complex with nitrogen single, double, and triple bonds to the same chromium atom: synthesis, structure, and reactivity", Chem. Sci., vol. 7, pp. 2532-2536, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5sc04608d