Posts Tagged ‘aqueous solutions’

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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Azane oxide, a tautomer of hydroxylamine.

Friday, April 15th, 2016
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In the previous post I described how hydronium hydroxide or H3O+…HO, an intermolecular tautomer of water, has recently been observed captured inside an organic cage[1] and how the free-standing species in water can be captured computationally with the help of solvating water bridges. Here I explore azane oxide or H3N+-O, a tautomer of the better known hydroxylamine (H2N-OH).

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References

  1. M. Stapf, W. Seichter, and M. Mazik, "Unique Hydrogen-Bonded Complex of Hydronium and Hydroxide Ions", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 21, pp. 6350-6354, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201406383

Why are α-helices in proteins mostly right handed?

Saturday, April 9th, 2011
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Understanding why and how proteins fold continues to be a grand challenge in science. I have described how Wrinch in 1936 made a bold proposal for the mechanism, which however flew in the face of much of then known chemistry. Linus Pauling took most of the credit (and a Nobel prize) when in a famous paper in 1951 he suggested a mechanism that involved (inter alia) the formation of what he termed α-helices. Jack Dunitz in 2001 wrote a must-read article on the topic of “Pauling’s Left-handed α-helix” (it is now known to be right handed).  I thought I would revisit this famous example with a calculation of my own and here I have used the ωB97XD/6-311G(d,p) DFT procedure to calculate some of the energy components of a small helix comprising (ala)6 in both left and right handed form.

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