Posts Tagged ‘Hydrogen’

The shortest known CF…HO hydrogen bond.

Sunday, 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.[cite]10.1039/B610213C[/cite] 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.


A Theoretical Method for Distinguishing X‐H Bond Activation Mechanisms.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Consider the four reactions. The first two are taught in introductory organic chemistry as (a) a proton transfer, often abbreviated PT, from X to B (a base) and (b) a hydride transfer from X to A (an acid). The third example is taught as a hydrogen atom transfer or HAT from X to (in this example) O. Recently an article has appeared[cite]10.1002/anie.201805511[/cite] citing an example of a fourth fundamental type (d), which is given the acronym cPCET which I will expand later. Here I explore this last type a bit further, in the context that X-H bond activations are currently a very active area of research.


Aromaticity-induced basicity.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

The molecules below were discussed in the previous post as examples of highly polar but formally neutral molecules, a property induced by aromatisation of up to three rings. Since e.g. compound 3 is known only in its protonated phenolic form, here I take a look at the basicity of the oxygen in these systems to see if deprotonation of the ionic phenol form to the neutral polar form is viable.


Hypervalent Helium – not!

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Last year, this article[cite]10.1038/nchem.2716[/cite] attracted a lot of attention as the first example of molecular helium in the form of Na2He. In fact, the helium in this species has a calculated bond index of only 0.15 and it is better classified as a sodium electride with the ionisation induced by pressure and the presence of helium atoms. The helium is neither valent, nor indeed hypervalent (the meanings are in fact equivalent for this element). In a separate blog posted in 2013, I noted a cobalt carbonyl complex containing a hexacoordinate hydrogen in the form of hydride, H. A comment appended to this blog insightfully asked about the isoelectronic complex containing He instead of H. Here, rather belatedly, I respond to this comment!


Hydrogen capture by boron: a crazy reaction path!

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

A recent article reports, amongst other topics, a computationally modelled reaction involving the capture of molecular hydrogen using a substituted borane (X=N, Y=C).[cite]10.1073/pnas.1709586114[/cite] The mechanism involves an initial equilibrium between React and Int1, followed by capture of the hydrogen by Int1 to form a 5-coordinate borane intermediate (Int2 below, as per Figure 11). This was followed by assistance from a proximate basic nitrogen to complete the hydrogen capture via a TS involving H-H cleavage. The forward free energy barrier to capture was ~11 kcal/mol and ~4 kcal/mol in the reverse direction (relative to the species labelled Int1), both suitably low for reversible hydrogen capture. Here I explore a simple variation to this fascinating reaction.


Reaction coordinates vs Dynamic trajectories as illustrated by an example reaction mechanism.

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The example a few posts back of how methane might invert its configuration by transposing two hydrogen atoms illustrated the reaction mechanism by locating a transition state and following it down in energy using an intrinsic reaction coordinate (IRC). Here I explore an alternative method based instead on computing a molecular dynamics trajectory (MD).


The H4 (2+) dication and its bonding.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

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.


Na2He: a stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure.

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

On February 6th I was alerted to this intriguing article[cite]10.1038/nchem.2716[/cite] by a phone call, made 55 minutes before the article embargo was due to be released. Gizmodo wanted to know if I could provide an (almost) instant quote. After a few days, this report of a stable compound of helium and sodium still seems impressive to me and I now impart a few more thoughts here.


The “hydrogen bond”; its early history.

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

My holiday reading has been Derek Lowe’s excellent Chemistry Book setting out 250 milestones in chemistry, organised by year. An entry for 1920 entitled hydrogen bonding seemed worth exploring in more detail here.