Henry Rzepa's Blog Chemistry with a twist

April 4, 2019

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

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

February 23, 2018

Is (hν)3 an allotrope of light?

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

February 14, 2017

VSEPR Theory: A closer look at bromine trifluoride, BrF3.

I analysed the bonding in chlorine trifluoride a few years back in terms of VSEPR theory. I noticed that several searches on this topic which led people to this post also included a query about the differences between it and the bromine analogue. For those who posed this question, here is an equivalent analysis.

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