The title of this post comes from a comment posted by Ryan, who asks about isocyanide’s role (in the form of the anion of tosyl isocyanide, or TosMIC) in two named reactions, Van Leusen and Ugi FCR. “In Van Leusen, it (the isocyanide) acts as an electrophile: however, in Ugi, it acts as a nucleophile”. Here are some valence bond forms for this species;
Archive for the ‘Interesting chemistry’ Category
Lukas, who occasionally comments on this blog, sent me the following challenge. In a recent article he had proposed that the stereochemical outcome (Z) of reaction between a butenal and thioacetic acid as shown below arose by an unusual concerted cycloaddtion involving an S-H bond. He wrote in the article “…this scheme … recommends itself for evaluation by in silico methods“. I asked if the answer could be posted here, and he agreed. So here it is.
- L. Hintermann, and A. Turočkin, "Reversible Generation of Metastable Enols in the 1,4-Addition of Thioacetic Acid to α,β-Unsaturated Carbonyl Compounds", The Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol. 77, pp. 11345-11348, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jo3021709
In a previous post on the topic, I remarked how the regiospecific ethanolysis of propene epoxide could be quickly and simply rationalised by inspecting the localized NBO orbital calculated for either the neutral or the protonated epoxide. This is an application of Hammond’s postulate[ in extrapolating the properties of a reactant to its reaction transition state. This approach implies that for acid-catalysed hydrolysis, the fully protonated epoxide is a good model for the subsequent transition state. But is this true? Can this postulate be tested? Here goes.
A few posts back, I explored the “benzidine rearrangement” of diphenyl hydrazine. This reaction requires diprotonation to proceed readily, but we then discovered that replacing one NH by an O as in N,O-diphenyl hydroxylamine required only monoprotonation to undergo an equivalent facile rearrangement. So replacing both NHs by O to form diphenyl peroxide (Ph-O-O-Ph) completes this homologous series. I had speculated that PhNHOPh might exist if all traces of catalytic acid were removed, but could the same be done to PhOOPh? Not if it continues the trend and requires no prior protonation at all!
Back in the days (1893) when few compounds were known, new ones could end up being named after the discoverer. Thus Feist is known for the compound bearing his name; the 2,3 carboxylic acid of methylenecyclopropane (1, with Me replaced by CO2H). Compound 1 itself nowadays is used to calibrate chiroptical calculations, which is what brought it to my attention. But about four decades ago, and now largely forgotten, both 1 and the dicarboxylic acid were famous for the following rearrangement that gives a mixture of 2 and 3. I thought I might here unpick some of the wonderfully subtle stereochemical analysis that this little molecule became subjected to.
- E.D. Hedegård, F. Jensen, and J. Kongsted, "Basis Set Recommendations for DFT Calculations of Gas-Phase Optical Rotation at Different Wavelengths", Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, vol. 8, pp. 4425-4433, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ct300359s
- J.J. Gajewski, "Hydrocarbon thermal degenerate rearrangements. IV. Stereochemistry of the methylenecyclopropane self-interconversion. Chiral and achiral intermediates", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 93, pp. 4450-4458, 1971. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00747a019
A quartet of articles has recently appeared on the topic of cyclobutadiene.,,,. You will find a great deal discussed there, but I can boil it down to this essence. Do the following coordinates (obtained from a (disordered) previously published x-ray refinement) correspond to a van der Waals complex of 1,3-dimethyl cyclobutadiene and carbon dioxide, or do they instead represent a covalent interaction between these two components resulting in a compound with the chemical name 2-oxabicyclo[2.2.0]hex-5-en-3-one (i.e. not a cyclobutadiene)?
- H.S. Rzepa, "A Computational Evaluation of the Evidence for the Synthesis of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene in the Solid State and Aqueous Solution", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4932-4937, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201102942
- M. Shatruk, and I.V. Alabugin, "Reinvestigation of “Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-dimethylcyclobutadiene”", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4942-4945, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201103017
- Y. Legrand, D. Dumitrescu, A. Gilles, E. Petit, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "A Constrained Disorder Refinement: “Reinvestigation of “Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene” by M. Shatruk and I. V. Alabugin”", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4946-4950, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201203234
- Y. Legrand, D. Dumitrescu, A. Gilles, E. Petit, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "Reply to A Computational Evaluation of the Evidence for the Synthesis of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene in Solid State and Aqueous Solution-Beyond the Experimental Reality", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4938-4941, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201203235
- Y. Legrand, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene by Confinement in a Crystalline Matrix", Science, vol. 329, pp. 299-302, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1188002