Posts Tagged ‘Chemistry’

The “White City Trio” – The formation of an amide from an acid and an amine in non-polar solution (updated).

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
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White City is a small area in west london created as an exhibition site in 1908, morphing over the years into an Olympic games venue, a greyhound track, the home nearby of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and most recently the new western campus for Imperial College London. The first Imperial department to move into the MSRH (Molecular Sciences Research Hub) building is chemistry. As a personal celebration of this occasion, I here dedicate three transition states located during my first week of occupancy there, naming them the White City trio following earlier inspiration by a string trio and their own instruments.

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A Theoretical Method for Distinguishing X‐H Bond Activation Mechanisms.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
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Consider the four reactions. The first two are taught in introductory organic chemistry as (a) a proton transfer, often abbreviated PT, from X to B (a base) and (b) a hydride transfer from X to A (an acid). The third example is taught as a hydrogen atom transfer or HAT from X to (in this example) O. Recently an article has appeared[1] citing an example of a fourth fundamental type (d), which is given the acronym cPCET which I will expand later. Here I explore this last type a bit further, in the context that X-H bond activations are currently a very active area of research.

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References

  1. J.E.M.N. Klein, and G. Knizia, "cPCET vs. HAT: A Direct Theoretical Method for Distinguishing X-H Bond Activation Mechanisms", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201805511

Why do flowers such as roses, peonies, dahlias, delphiniums (etc), exhibit so many shades of colours?

Monday, June 18th, 2018
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It was about a year ago that I came across a profusion of colour in my local Park. Although colour in fact was the topic that sparked my interest in chemistry many years ago (the fantastic reds produced by diazocoupling reactions), I had never really tracked down the origin of colours in many flowers. It is of course a vast field. Here I take a look at just one class of molecule responsible for many flower colours, anthocyanidin, this being the sugar-free counterpart of the anthocyanins found in nature.

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Aromaticity-induced basicity.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
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The molecules below were discussed in the previous post as examples of highly polar but formally neutral molecules, a property induced by aromatisation of up to three rings. Since e.g. compound 3 is known only in its protonated phenolic form, here I take a look at the basicity of the oxygen in these systems to see if deprotonation of the ionic phenol form to the neutral polar form is viable.

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A record polarity for a neutral compound?

Friday, April 13th, 2018
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In several posts a year or so ago I considered various suggestions for the most polar neutral molecules, as measured by the dipole moment. A record had been claimed[1] for a synthesized molecule of ~14.1±0.7D. I pushed this to a calculated 21.7D for an admittedly hypothetical and unsynthesized molecule. Here I propose a new family of compounds which have the potential to extend the dipole moment for a formally neutral molecule up still further.

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References

  1. J. Wudarczyk, G. Papamokos, V. Margaritis, D. Schollmeyer, F. Hinkel, M. Baumgarten, G. Floudas, and K. Müllen, "Hexasubstituted Benzenes with Ultrastrong Dipole Moments", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 55, pp. 3220-3223, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201508249

How FAIR are the data associated with the 2017 Molecules-of-the-Year?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
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C&EN has again run a vote for the 2017 Molecules of the year. Here I take a look not just at these molecules, but at how FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) the data associated with these molecules actually is.

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What are the highest bond indices for main group and transition group elements?

Sunday, March 4th, 2018
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A bond index (BI) approximately measures the totals of the bond orders at any given atom in a molecule. Here I ponder what the maximum values might be for elements with filled valence shells.

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Hypervalent or not? A fluxional triselenide.

Saturday, February 24th, 2018
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Another post inspired by a comment on an earlier one; I had been discussing compounds of the type I.In (n=4,6) as possible candidates for hypervalency. The comment suggests the below as a similar analogue, deriving from observations made in 1989.[1]

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References

  1. Y. Mazaki, and K. Kobayashi, "Structure and intramolecular dynamics of bis(diisobutylselenocarbamoyl) triselenide as identified in solution by the 77Se-NMR spectroscopy", Tetrahedron Letters, vol. 30, pp. 2813-2816, 1989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0040-4039(00)99132-9

Is (hν)3 an allotrope of light?

Friday, February 23rd, 2018
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A little while ago I pondered allotropic bromine, or Br(Br)3. But this is a far wackier report[1] of a molecule of light.

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References

  1. Q. Liang, A.V. Venkatramani, S.H. Cantu, T.L. Nicholson, M.J. Gullans, A.V. Gorshkov, J.D. Thompson, C. Chin, M.D. Lukin, and V. Vuletić, "Observation of three-photon bound states in a quantum nonlinear medium", Science, vol. 359, pp. 783-786, 2018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aao7293

Hypervalent Helium – not!

Friday, February 16th, 2018
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Last year, this article[1] attracted a lot of attention as the first example of molecular helium in the form of Na2He. In fact, the helium in this species has a calculated bond index of only 0.15 and it is better classified as a sodium electride with the ionisation induced by pressure and the presence of helium atoms. The helium is neither valent, nor indeed hypervalent (the meanings are in fact equivalent for this element). In a separate blog posted in 2013, I noted a cobalt carbonyl complex containing a hexacoordinate hydrogen in the form of hydride, H. A comment appended to this blog insightfully asked about the isoelectronic complex containing He instead of H. Here, rather belatedly, I respond to this comment!

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References

  1. X. Dong, A.R. Oganov, A.F. Goncharov, E. Stavrou, S. Lobanov, G. Saleh, G. Qian, Q. Zhu, C. Gatti, V.L. Deringer, R. Dronskowski, X. Zhou, V.B. Prakapenka, Z. Konôpková, I.A. Popov, A.I. Boldyrev, and H. Wang, "A stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure", Nature Chemistry, vol. 9, pp. 440-445, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2716