The geometry of cyclo-octatetraenes differs fundamentally from the lower homologue benzene in exhibiting slow (nuclear) valence bond isomerism rather than rapid (electronic) bond-equalising resonance. In 1992 Anderson and Kirsch exploited this property to describe a simple molecular balance for estimating how two alkyl substituents on the ring might interact via the (currently very topical) mechanism of dispersion (induced-dipole-induced-dipole) attractions. These electron correlation effects are exceptionally difficult to model using formal quantum mechanics and are nowadays normally replaced by more empirical functions such as Grimme's D3BJ correction. Here I explore aspects of how the small molecule below might be used to investigate the accuracy of such estimates of dispersion energies.
- J.E. Anderson, and P.A. Kirsch, "Structural equilibria determined by attractive steric interactions. 1,6-Dialkylcyclooctatetraenes and their bond-shift and ring inversion investigated by dynamic NMR spectroscopy and molecular mechanics calculations", J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 2, pp. 1951, 1992. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/P29920001951
- S. Grimme, S. Ehrlich, and L. Goerigk, "Effect of the damping function in dispersion corrected density functional theory", J. Comput. Chem., vol. 32, pp. 1456-1465, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcc.21759