A search of some major chemistry publishers for FAIR data records.

April 12th, 2019

In recent years, findable data has become ever more important (the F in FAIR). Here I test that F using the DataCite search service.

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Smoke and mirrors. All is not what it seems with this Sn2 reaction!

April 4th, 2019

Previously, I explored the Graham reaction to form a diazirine. The second phase of the reaction involved an Sn2′ displacement of N-Cl forming C-Cl. Here I ask how facile the simpler displacement of C-Cl by another chlorine might be and whether the mechanism is Sn2 or the alternative Sn1. The reason for posing this question is that as an Sn1 reaction, simply ionizing off the chlorine to form a diazacyclopropenium cation might be a very easy process. Why? Because the resulting cation is analogous to the cyclopropenium cation, famously proposed by Breslow as the first example of a 4n+2 aromatic ring for which the value of n is zero and not 1 as for benzene.[1] Another example of a famous “Sn1” reaction is the solvolysis of t-butyl chloride to form the very stable tertiary carbocation and chloride anion (except in fact that it is not an Sn1 reaction but an Sn2 one!)

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References

  1. R. Breslow, "SYNTHESIS OF THE s-TRIPHENYLCYCLOPROPENYL CATION", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 79, pp. 5318-5318, 1957. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja01576a067

Impossible molecules.

April 1st, 2019

Members of the chemical FAIR data community have just met in Orlando (with help from the NSF, the American National Science Foundation) to discuss how such data is progressing in chemistry. There are a lot of themes converging at the moment. Thus this article[1] extolls the virtues of having raw NMR data available in natural product research, to which we added that such raw data should also be made FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) by virtue of adding rich metadata and then properly registering it so that it can be searched. These themes are combined in another article which made a recent appearance.[2]

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References

  1. J.B. McAlpine, S. Chen, A. Kutateladze, J.B. MacMillan, G. Appendino, A. Barison, M.A. Beniddir, M.W. Biavatti, S. Bluml, A. Boufridi, M.S. Butler, R.J. Capon, Y.H. Choi, D. Coppage, P. Crews, M.T. Crimmins, M. Csete, P. Dewapriya, J.M. Egan, M.J. Garson, G. Genta-Jouve, W.H. Gerwick, H. Gross, M.K. Harper, P. Hermanto, J.M. Hook, L. Hunter, D. Jeannerat, N. Ji, T.A. Johnson, D.G.I. Kingston, H. Koshino, H. Lee, G. Lewin, J. Li, R.G. Linington, M. Liu, K.L. McPhail, T.F. Molinski, B.S. Moore, J. Nam, R.P. Neupane, M. Niemitz, J. Nuzillard, N.H. Oberlies, F.M.M. Ocampos, G. Pan, R.J. Quinn, D.S. Reddy, J. Renault, J. Rivera-Chávez, W. Robien, C.M. Saunders, T.J. Schmidt, C. Seger, B. Shen, C. Steinbeck, H. Stuppner, S. Sturm, O. Taglialatela-Scafati, D.J. Tantillo, R. Verpoorte, B. Wang, C.M. Williams, P.G. Williams, J. Wist, J. Yue, C. Zhang, Z. Xu, C. Simmler, D.C. Lankin, J. Bisson, and G.F. Pauli, "The value of universally available raw NMR data for transparency, reproducibility, and integrity in natural product research", Natural Product Reports, vol. 36, pp. 35-107, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c7np00064b
  2. A. Barba, S. Dominguez, C. Cobas, D.P. Martinsen, C. Romain, H.S. Rzepa, and F. Seoane, "Workflows Allowing Creation of Journal Article Supporting Information and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR)-Enabled Publication of Spectroscopic Data", ACS Omega, vol. 4, pp. 3280-3286, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.8b03005

The shortest known CF…HO hydrogen bond.

March 24th, 2019

There is a predilection amongst chemists for collecting records; one common theme is the length of particular bonds, either the shortest or the longest. A particularly baffling type of bond is that between the very electronegative F atom and an acid hydrogen atom such as that in OH. Thus short C-N…HO hydrogen bonds are extremely common, as are C-O…HO. But F atoms in C-F bonds are largely thought to be inert to hydrogen bonding, as indicated by the use of fluorine in many pharmaceuticals as inert isosteres.[1] Here I do an up-to-date search of the CSD crystal structure database, which is now on the verge of accumulating 1 million entries, to see if any strong C-F…HO hydrogen bonding may have been recently discovered.

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References

  1. S. Purser, P.R. Moore, S. Swallow, and V. Gouverneur, "Fluorine in medicinal chemistry", Chem. Soc. Rev., vol. 37, pp. 320-330, 2008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/B610213C

The Graham reaction: Deciding upon a reasonable mechanism and curly arrow representation.

February 18th, 2019

Students learning organic chemistry are often asked in examinations and tutorials to devise the mechanisms (as represented by curly arrows) for the core corpus of important reactions, with the purpose of learning skills that allow them to go on to improvise mechanisms for new reactions. A common question asked by students is how should such mechanisms be presented in an exam in order to gain full credit? Alternatively, is there a single correct mechanism for any given reaction? To which the lecturer or tutor will often respond that any reasonable mechanism will receive such credit. The implication is that a mechanism is “reasonable” if it “follows the rules”. The rules are rarely declared fully, but seem to be part of the absorbed but often mysterious skill acquired in learning the subject. These rules also include those governing how the curly arrows should be drawn. Here I explore this topic using the Graham reaction.[1]

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References

  1. W.H. Graham, "The Halogenation of Amidines. I. Synthesis of 3-Halo- and Other Negatively Substituted Diazirines1", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 87, pp. 4396-4397, 1965. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00947a040

The Chemistry of the Book of Kells

January 22nd, 2019

The Book of Kells is a spectacularly illuminated gospel manuscript dating from around 800AD and held in Trinity College library in Dublin. Some idea of the colours achieved can be seen below. 

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Free energy relationships and their linearity: a test example.

January 13th, 2019

Linear free energy relationships (LFER) are associated with the dawn of physical organic chemistry in the late 1930s and its objectives in understanding chemical reactivity as measured by reaction rates and equilibria.

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Dispersion-induced triplet aromatisation?

January 3rd, 2019

There is emerging interest in cyclic conjugated molecules that happen to have triplet spin states and which might be expected to follow a 4n rule for aromaticity.[1] The simplest such system would be the triplet state of cyclobutadiene, for which a non or anti-aromatic singlet state is always found to be lower in energy. Here I explore some crystal structures containing this motif for possible insights.

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References

  1. A. Kostenko, B. Tumanskii, Y. Kobayashi, M. Nakamoto, A. Sekiguchi, and Y. Apeloig, "Spectroscopic Observation of the Triplet Diradical State of a Cyclobutadiene", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 56, pp. 10183-10187, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201705228