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.
Posts Tagged ‘Nature’
Cyclobutadiene is one of those small iconic molecules, the transience and instability of which was explained theoretically long before it was actually detected in 1965. Given that instability, I was intrigued as to how many crystal structures might have been reported for this ring system, along with the rather more stable congener cyclo-octatetraene. Here is what I found.
- L. Watts, J.D. Fitzpatrick, and R. Pettit, "Cyclobutadiene", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 87, pp. 3253-3254, 1965. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja01092a049
The thread thus far. The post about Na2He introduced the electride anionic counter-ion to Na+ as corresponding topologically to a rare feature known as a non-nuclear attractor. This prompted speculation about other systems with such a feature, and the focus shifted to a tetrahedral arrangement of four hydrogen atoms as a dication, sharing a total of two valence electrons. The story now continues here.
This post arose from a comment attached to the post on Na2He and relating to peculiar and rare topological features of the electron density in molecules called non-nuclear attractors. This set me thinking about other molecules that might exhibit this and one of these is shown below.
This is one of those posts of a molecule whose very structure is interesting enough to merit a picture and a 3D model. The study reports a molecular knot with the remarkable number of eight crossings.
- J.J. Danon, A. Krüger, D.A. Leigh, J. Lemonnier, A.J. Stephens, I.J. Vitorica-Yrezabal, and S.L. Woltering, "Braiding a molecular knot with eight crossings", Science, vol. 355, pp. 159-162, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aal1619
Bromoallene is a pretty simple molecule, with two non-equivalent double bonds. How might it react with an electrophile, say dimethyldioxirane (DMDO) to form an epoxide? Here I explore the difference between two different and very simple approaches to predicting its reactivity.
- D. Christopher Braddock, A. Mahtey, H.S. Rzepa, and A.J.P. White, "Stable bromoallene oxides", Chem. Commun., vol. 52, pp. 11219-11222, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6CC06395K