Why is the carbonyl IR stretch in an ester higher than in a ketone: crystal structure data mining.

June 18th, 2016
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In this post, I pondered upon the C=O infra-red spectroscopic properties of esters, and showed three possible electronic influences:

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A wider look at π-complex metal-alkene (and alkyne) compounds.

June 13th, 2016
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Previously, I looked at the historic origins of the so-called π-complex theory of metal-alkene complexes. Here I follow this up with some data mining of the crystal structure database for such structures.

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A wider look at chlorine trifluoride: crystal structures and data mining.

June 10th, 2016
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A while ago, I explored how the 3-coordinate halogen compound ClF3 is conventionally analyzed using VSEPR (valence shell electron pair repulsion theory). Here I (belatedly) look at other such tri-coordinate halogen compounds using known structures gleaned from the crystal structure database (CSD).

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500 chemical twists: a (chalk and cheese) comparison of the impacts of blog posts and journal articles.

June 3rd, 2016
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The title might give it away; this is my 500th blog post, the first having come some eight years ago. Very little online activity nowadays is excluded from measurement and so it is no surprise that this blog and another of my "other" scholarly endeavours, viz publishing in traditional journals, attract such "metrics" or statistics. The h-index is a well-known but somewhat controversial measure of the impact of journal articles; here I thought I might instead take a look at three less familiar ones – one relating to blogging, one specific to journal publishing and one to research data.

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The geometries of 5-coordinate compounds of group 14 elements.

May 30th, 2016
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This is a follow-up to one aspect of the previous two posts dealing with nucleophilic substitution reactions at silicon. Here I look at the geometries of 5-coordinate compounds containing as a central atom 4A = Si, Ge, Sn, Pb and of the specific formula C34AO2 with a trigonal bipyramidal geometry. This search arose because of a casual comment I made in the earlier post regarding possible cooperative effects between the two axial ligands (the ones with an angle of ~180 degrees subtended at silicon). Perhaps the geometries might expand upon this comment?

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An alternative mechanism for nucleophilic substitution at silicon using a tetra-alkyl ammonium fluoride.

May 27th, 2016
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In the previous post, I explored the mechanism for nucleophilic substitution at a silicon centre proceeding via retention of configuration involving a Berry-like pseudorotation. Here I probe an alternative route involving inversion of configuration at the Si centre. Both stereochemical modes are known to occur, depending on the leaving group, solvent and other factors.[1],[2],[3]

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References

  1. L. Wozniak, M. Cypryk, J. Chojnowski, and G. Lanneau, "Optically active silyl esters of phosphorus. II. Stereochemistry of reactions with nucleophiles", Tetrahedron, vol. 45, pp. 4403-4414, 1989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0040-4020(01)89077-3
  2. L.H. Sommer, and H. Fujimoto, "Stereochemistry of asymmetric silicon. X. Solvent and reagent effects on stereochemistry crossover in alkoxy-alkoxy exchange reactions at silicon centers", J. Am. Chem. Soc., vol. 90, pp. 982-987, 1968. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja01006a024
  3. D.N. Roark, and L.H. Sommer, "Dramatic stereochemistry crossover to retention of configuration with angle-strained asymmetric silicon", J. Am. Chem. Soc., vol. 95, pp. 969-971, 1973. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00784a081

The mechanism of silylether deprotection using a tetra-alkyl ammonium fluoride.

May 25th, 2016
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The substitution of a nucleofuge (a good leaving group) by a nucleophile at a carbon centre occurs with inversion of configuration at the carbon, the mechanism being known by the term SN2 (a story I have also told in this post). Such displacement at silicon famously proceeds by a quite different mechanism, which I here quantify with some calculations.

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Data-free research data management? Not an oxymoron.

May 24th, 2016
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I occasionally post about "RDM" (research data management), an activity that has recently become a formalised essential part of the research processes. I say recently formalised, since researchers have of course kept research notebooks recording their activities and their data since the dawn of science, but not always in an open and transparent manner. The desirability of doing so was revealed by the 2009 "Climategate" events. In the UK, Climategate was apparently the catalyst which persuaded the funding councils (such as the EPSRC, the Royal Society, etc) to formulate policies which required all their funded researchers to adopt the principles of RDM by May 2015 and in their future researches. An early career researcher here, anxious to conform to the funding body instructions, sent me an email a few days ago asking about one aspect of RDM which got me thinking.

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What is the approach trajectory of enhanced (super?) nucleophiles towards a carbonyl group?

May 11th, 2016
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I have previously commented on the Bürgi–Dunitz angle, this being the preferred approach trajectory of a nucleophile towards the electrophilic carbon of a carbonyl group. Some special types of nucleophile such as hydrazines (R2N-NR2) are supposed to have enhanced reactivity[1] due to what might be described as buttressing of adjacent lone pairs. Here I focus in on how this might manifest by performing searches of the Cambridge structural database for intermolecular (non-bonded) interactions between X-Y nucleophiles (X,Y= N,O,S) and carbonyl compounds OC(NM)2.

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References

  1. G. Klopman, K. Tsuda, J. Louis, and R. Davis, "Supernucleophiles—I", Tetrahedron, vol. 26, pp. 4549-4554, 1970. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0040-4020(01)93101-1

Autoionization of hydrogen fluoride.

April 24th, 2016
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The autoionization of water involves two molecules transfering a proton to give hydronium hydroxide, a process for which the free energy of reaction is well known. Here I ask what might happen with the next element along in the periodic table, F.

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