Archive for March, 2017

Supporting information: chemical graveyard or invaluable resource for chemical structures.

Friday, March 31st, 2017
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Nowadays, data supporting most publications relating to the synthesis of organic compounds is more likely than not to be found in associated “supporting information” rather than the (often page limited) article itself. For example, this article[1] has an SI which is paginated at 907; almost a mini-database in its own right! Here I ponder whether such dissemination of data is FAIR (Findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable).[2]

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References

  1. J.M. Lopchuk, K. Fjelbye, Y. Kawamata, L.R. Malins, C. Pan, R. Gianatassio, J. Wang, L. Prieto, J. Bradow, T.A. Brandt, M.R. Collins, J. Elleraas, J. Ewanicki, W. Farrell, O.O. Fadeyi, G.M. Gallego, J.J. Mousseau, R. Oliver, N.W. Sach, J.K. Smith, J.E. Spangler, H. Zhu, J. Zhu, and P.S. Baran, "Strain-Release Heteroatom Functionalization: Development, Scope, and Stereospecificity", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 139, pp. 3209-3226, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.6b13229
  2. M.D. Wilkinson, M. Dumontier, I.J. Aalbersberg, G. Appleton, M. Axton, A. Baak, N. Blomberg, J. Boiten, L.B. da Silva Santos, P.E. Bourne, J. Bouwman, A.J. Brookes, T. Clark, M. Crosas, I. Dillo, O. Dumon, S. Edmunds, C.T. Evelo, R. Finkers, A. Gonzalez-Beltran, A.J. Gray, P. Groth, C. Goble, J.S. Grethe, J. Heringa, P.A. ’t Hoen, R. Hooft, T. Kuhn, R. Kok, J. Kok, S.J. Lusher, M.E. Martone, A. Mons, A.L. Packer, B. Persson, P. Rocca-Serra, M. Roos, R. van Schaik, S. Sansone, E. Schultes, T. Sengstag, T. Slater, G. Strawn, M.A. Swertz, M. Thompson, J. van der Lei, E. van Mulligen, J. Velterop, A. Waagmeester, P. Wittenburg, K. Wolstencroft, J. Zhao, and B. Mons, "The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship", Scientific Data, vol. 3, pp. 160018, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.18

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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The provenance of scientific data – establishing an audit trail.

Thursday, March 30th, 2017
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In an era when alternative facts and fake news afflict us, the provenance of scientific data becomes ever more important. Especially if that data is available as open access and exploitable by others for both valid scientific reasons but potentially also by those with other motives. Here I consider the audit trail that might serve to establish data provenance in one typical situation in chemistry, the acquisition of NMR instrumental data. 

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First, hexacoordinate carbon – now pentacoordinate oxygen?

Saturday, March 25th, 2017
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The previous post demonstrated the simple iso-electronic progression from six-coordinate carbon to five coordinate nitrogen. Here, a further progression to oxygen is investigated computationally.

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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

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

Reaction coordinates vs Dynamic trajectories as illustrated by an example reaction mechanism.

Monday, March 20th, 2017
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The example a few posts back of how methane might invert its configuration by transposing two hydrogen atoms illustrated the reaction mechanism by locating a transition state and following it down in energy using an intrinsic reaction coordinate (IRC). Here I explore an alternative method based instead on computing a molecular dynamics trajectory (MD).

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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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How does silane invert (its configuration)?

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
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In the previous post, I found intriguing the mechanism by which methane (CH4) inverts by transposing two of its hydrogens. Here I take a look at silane, SiH4.

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