Archive for the ‘Interesting chemistry’ Category

Dispersion “bonds” not involving just hydrogen: can it work for F…H?

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
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The effects of loading up lots of dispersion attractions (between t-butyl groups) into a compact molecule has the interesting consequence of allowing two “non-bonded” hydrogen atoms to approach to ~1.5Å of each other, thus creating the appearance of a “bond” where one normally would not be found. Can such an effect be injected into other combinations of two atoms, say H and F? Here I briefly explore this notion.

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Dispersion “bonds”: a new example with an ultra-short H…H distance.

Monday, June 26th, 2017
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About 18 months ago, there was much discussion on this blog about a system reported by Bob Pascal and co-workers containing a short H…H contact of ~1.5Å[1]. In this system, the hydrogens were both attached to Si as Si-H…H-Si and compressed together by rings. Now a new report[2] and commented upon by Steve Bachrach, claims a similar distance for hydrogens attached to carbon, i.e. C-H…H-C, but without the ring compression.

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References

  1. J. Zong, J.T. Mague, and R.A. Pascal, "Exceptional Steric Congestion in anin,in-Bis(hydrosilane)", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 135, pp. 13235-13237, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja407398w
  2. S. Rösel, H. Quanz, C. Logemann, J. Becker, E. Mossou, L. Cañadillas-Delgado, E. Caldeweyher, S. Grimme, and P.R. Schreiner, "London Dispersion Enables the Shortest Intermolecular Hydrocarbon H···H Contact", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 139, pp. 7428-7431, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b01879

Cyclopropenium cyclopentadienide: a strangely neutral ion-pair?

Sunday, April 9th, 2017
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Both the cyclopropenium cation and the cyclopentadienide anion are well-known 4n+2-type aromatic ions, but could the two together form an ion-pair?

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What is the (calculated) structure of a norbornyl cation anion-pair in water?

Saturday, April 1st, 2017
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In a comment appended to an earlier post, I mused about the magnitude of the force constant relating to the interconversion between a classical and a non-classical structure for the norbornyl cation. Most calculations indicate the force constant for an “isolated” symmetrical cation is +ve, which means it is a true minimum and not a transition state for a [1,2] shift. The latter would have been required if the species equilibrated between two classical carbocations. I then pondered what might happen to both the magnitude and the sign of this force constant if various layers of solvation and eventually a counter-ion were to be applied to the molecule, so that a bridge of sorts between the different states of solid crystals, superacid and aqueous solutions might be built.

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MOLinsight: A web portal for the processing of molecular structures by blind students.

Friday, March 31st, 2017
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Occasionally one comes across a web site that manages to combine being unusual, interesting and also useful. Thus www.molinsight.net is I think a unique chemistry resource for blind and visually impaired students.

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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)62+", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 56, pp. 368-370, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201608795

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

Expanding on the curious connection between the norbornyl cation and small-ring aromatics.

Sunday, March 12th, 2017
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This is another of those posts that has morphed from an earlier one noting the death of the great chemist George Olah. The discussion about the norbornyl cation concentrated on whether this species existed in a single minimum symmetric energy well (the non-classical Winstein/Olah proposal) or a double minimum well connected by a symmetric transition state (the classical Brown proposal). In a comment on the post, I added other examples in chemistry of single/double minima, mapped here to non-classical/classical structures. I now expand on the examples related to small aromatic or anti-aromatic rings.

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George Olah and the norbornyl cation.

Friday, March 10th, 2017
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George Olah passed away on March 8th. He was part of the generation of scientists in the post-war 1950s who had access to chemical instrumentation that truly revolutionised chemistry. In particular he showed how the then newly available NMR spectroscopy illuminated structures of cations in solvents such “Magic acid“. The obituaries will probably mention his famous “feud” with H. C. Brown over the structure of the norbornyl cation (X=CH2+), implicated in the mechanism of many a solvolysis reaction that characterised the golden period of physical organic chemistry just before and after WWII. 

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More tetrahedral fun. Spherical aromaticity (and other oddities) in N4 and C4 systems?

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
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The thread thus far. The post about Na2He introduced the electride anionic counter-ion to Na+ as corresponding topologically to a rare feature known as a non-nuclear attractor. This prompted speculation about other systems with such a feature, and the focus shifted to a tetrahedral arrangement of four hydrogen atoms as a dication, sharing a total of two valence electrons. The story now continues here.

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