I started chemistry with a boxed set in 1962. In those days they contained serious amounts of chemicals, but I very soon ran out of most of them. Two discoveries turned what might have been a typical discarded christmas present into a lifelong career and hobby.
I have written earlier about the Amsterdam Manifesto. That arose out of a conference on the theme of “beyond the PDF“, with one simple question at its heart: what can be done to liberate data from containers it was not designed to be in? The latest meeting on this topic will happen in January 2015 as FORCE2015.
- H. Maddox, and J.D. McCullough, " The Crystal and Molecular Structure of the Iodine Complex of 1-Oxa-4-selenacyclohexane, C 4 H 8 OSe.I 2 ", Inorganic Chemistry, vol. 5, pp. 522-526, 1966. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ic50038a006
Nitrogen tri-iodide, or more accurately the complex between it and ammonia ranks amongst the oldest known molecules (1812). I became familiar with it around the age of 12-13, in an era long gone when boys (and very possibly girls too) were allowed to make such substances in their parent’s back gardens‡ and in fact in the school science laboratory,† an experiment which earned me a personal request to visit the head teacher.
Pursuing the topic of halogen bonds, the system DABCO (a tertiary dibase) and iodine form an intriguing complex. Here I explore some unusual features of the structure HEKZOO as published in 2012 and ask whether the bonding between the donor (N) and the acceptor (I-I) really is best described as a “non-covalent-interaction” (NCI) or not.
- Peuronen, A.., Valkonen, A.., Kortelainen, M.., Rissanen, K.., and Lahtinen, M.., "CCDC 879935: Experimental Crystal Structure Determination", 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.5517/CCYJN03
- A. Peuronen, A. Valkonen, M. Kortelainen, K. Rissanen, and M. Lahtinen, "Halogen Bonding-Based “Catch and Release”: Reversible Solid-State Entrapment of Elemental Iodine with Monoalkylated DABCO Salts", Crystal Growth & Design, vol. 12, pp. 4157-4169, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/cg300669t
Halogen bonds are less familiar cousins to hydrogen bonds. They are defined as non-covalent interactions (NCI) between a halogen atom (X, acting as a Lewis acid, in accepting electrons) and a Lewis base D donating electrons; D….X-A vs D…H-A. They are superficially surprising, since both D and X look like electron rich species. In fact the electron distribution around X-X (A=X) is highly anisotropic, with the electron rich distribution (the “donor”) being in a torus encircling the bond, and an electron deficient region (the “acceptor”) lying along the axis of the bond.
A computed mechanistic pathway for the formation of an amide from an acid and an amine in non-polar solution.November 12th, 2014
In London, one has the pleasures of attending occasional one day meetings at the Burlington House, home of the Royal Society of Chemistry. On November 5th this year, there was an excellent meeting on the topic of Challenges in Catalysis, and you can see the speakers and (some of) their slides here. One talk on the topic of Direct amide formation – the issues, the art, the industrial application by Dave Jackson caught my interest. He asked whether an amide could be formed directly from a carboxylic acid and an amine without the intervention of an explicit catalyst. The answer involved noting that the carboxylic acid was itself a catalyst in the process, and a full mechanistic exploration of this aspect can be found in an article published in collaboration with Andy Whiting’s group at Durham. My after-thoughts in the pub centered around the recollection that I had written some blog posts about the reaction between hydroxylamine and propanone. Might there be any similarity between the two mechanisms?
- H. Charville, D.A. Jackson, G. Hodges, A. Whiting, and M.R. Wilson, "The Uncatalyzed Direct Amide Formation Reaction - Mechanism Studies and the Key Role of Carboxylic Acid H-Bonding", European Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol. 2011, pp. 5981-5990, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejoc.201100714
Solvolytic mechanisms are amongst the oldest studied, but reproducing their characteristics using computational methods has been a challenging business. This post was inspired by reading Steve Bachrach’s post, itself alluding to this aspect in the title “Computationally handling ion pairs”. It references this recent article on the topic in which the point is made that reproducing the features of both contact and solvent-separated ion pairs needs a model comprising discrete solvent molecules (in this case four dichloromethane units) along with a continuum model.
- T. Hosoya, T. Takano, P. Kosma, and T. Rosenau, "Theoretical Foundation for the Presence of Oxacarbenium Ions in Chemical Glycoside Synthesis", J. Org. Chem., vol. 79, pp. 7889-7894, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jo501012s
Egon Willighagen recently gave a presentation at the RSC entitled “The Web – what is the issue” where he laments how little uptake of web technologies as a “channel for communication of scientific knowledge and data” there is in chemistry after twenty years or more. It caused me to ponder what we were doing with the web twenty years ago. Our HTTP server started in August 1993, and to my knowledge very little content there has been deleted (it’s mostly now just hidden). So here are some ancient pages which whilst certainly not examples of how it should be done nowadays, give an interesting historical perspective. In truth, there is not much stuff that is older out there!