Posts Tagged ‘Wiberg’

Hypervalency: Third time lucky?

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
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One approach to reporting science which is perhaps better suited to the medium of a blog than a conventional journal article is the opportunity to follow ideas in unexpected, even unconventional directions. Thus my third attempt, like a dog worrying a bone, to explore hypervalency. I have, somewhat to my surprise, found myself contemplating the two molecules I8 and At8. Perhaps it might be better to write them as I(I)7 and At(At)7. This makes it easier to relate both to the known molecule I(F)7. What led to these (allotropes) of the halogens? Well, as I noted before, hypervalency is a concept rooted in covalency, albeit an excess of it! And bonds with the same atom at each end are less likely to be accused of ionicity. I earlier suggested that the nicely covalent IH7 was not hypervalent, with all the electrons which might contribute to hypervalency actually to be found in the H…H regions. The next candidate, I(CN)7 ultimately proved a little too ionic for comfort. So we arrive at II7. At the D5h geometry, it proves not to be a minimum, but a (degenerate) transition state for reductive elimination of I2 (I note parabolically that the 2010 Nobel prize for chemistry was awarded for reactions which involve similar reductive elimination of Pd and other metals to form covalent C-C bonds). Thus I8 is useful only as a thought experiment molecule, and not a species that could actually be made.