Posts Tagged ‘Matthias Bickelhaupt’

The Sn2 reaction and the anomaly of carbon.

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

It was three years ago that I first blogged on the topic of the Sn2 reaction. Matthias Bickelhaupt had suggested that the Sn2 reaction involving displacement at a carbon atom was an anomaly; the true behaviour was in fact exhibited by the next element down in the series, silicon. The pentacoordinate species shown below (X=Si) is naturally a minimum, and the fact that for carbon (X=C) one gets instead a transition state resulting in a significant thermal barrier (~ 20 kcal/mol) was a manifestation of abnormal behaviour.


It’s Hexa-coordinate carbon Spock – but not as we know it!

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Science is about making connections. And these can often be made between the most unlikely concepts. Thus in the posts I have made about pentavalent carbon, one can identify a series of conceptual connections. The first, by Matthias Bickelhaupt and co, resulted in the suggestion of a possible frozen SN2 transition state. They used astatine, and this enabled a connection to be made between another good nucleophile/nucleofuge, cyclopentadienyl anion. This too seems to lead to a frozen Sn2 transition state. The cyclopentadienyl theme then asks whether this anion can coordinate a much simpler unit, a C2+ dication (rather than Bickelhaupt’s suggestion of a (NC)3C+ cation/radical) and indeed that complex is also frozen, again with 5-coordinate carbon, and this time with five equal C-C bonds. So here, the perhaps inevitable progression of ideas moves on to examining the properties of this complex, the outcome being a quite counter-intuitive suggestion which moves us into new territory.