Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

Dispersion-induced triplet aromatisation?

Thursday, 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.



  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.

Open Access journal publishing debates – the elephant in the room?

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

For perhaps ten years now, the future of scientific publishing has been hotly debated. The traditional models are often thought to be badly broken, although convergence to a consensus of what a better model should be is not apparently close. But to my mind, much of this debate seems to miss one important point, how to publish data.


Organocatalytic cyclopropanation of an enal: (computational) assignment of absolute configurations.

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

I am exploring the fascinating diverse facets of a recently published laboratory experiment for undergraduate students.[1] Previously I looked at a possible mechanistic route for the reaction between an enal (a conjugated aldehyde-alkene) and benzyl chloride catalysed by base and a chiral amine, followed by the use of NMR coupling constants to assign relative stereochemistries. Here I take a look at some chiroptical techniques which can be used to assign absolute stereochemistries (configurations).



  1. M. Meazza, A. Kowalczuk, S. Watkins, S. Holland, T.A. Logothetis, and R. Rios, "Organocatalytic Cyclopropanation of (E)-Dec-2-enal: Synthesis, Spectral Analysis and Mechanistic Understanding", Journal of Chemical Education, vol. 95, pp. 1832-1839, 2018.

Why do flowers such as roses, peonies, dahlias, delphiniums (etc), exhibit so many shades of colours?

Monday, June 18th, 2018

It was about a year ago that I came across a profusion of colour in my local Park. Although colour in fact was the topic that sparked my interest in chemistry many years ago (the fantastic reds produced by diazocoupling reactions), I had never really tracked down the origin of colours in many flowers. It is of course a vast field. Here I take a look at just one class of molecule responsible for many flower colours, anthocyanidin, this being the sugar-free counterpart of the anthocyanins found in nature.


A record polarity for a neutral compound?

Friday, April 13th, 2018

In several posts a year or so ago I considered various suggestions for the most polar neutral molecules, as measured by the dipole moment. A record had been claimed[1] for a synthesized molecule of ~14.1±0.7D. I pushed this to a calculated 21.7D for an admittedly hypothetical and unsynthesized molecule. Here I propose a new family of compounds which have the potential to extend the dipole moment for a formally neutral molecule up still further.



  1. J. Wudarczyk, G. Papamokos, V. Margaritis, D. Schollmeyer, F. Hinkel, M. Baumgarten, G. Floudas, and K. Müllen, "Hexasubstituted Benzenes with Ultrastrong Dipole Moments", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 55, pp. 3220-3223, 2016.

What are the highest bond indices for main group and transition group elements?

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

A bond index (BI) approximately measures the totals of the bond orders at any given atom in a molecule. Here I ponder what the maximum values might be for elements with filled valence shells.


Hypervalent or not? A fluxional triselenide.

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Another post inspired by a comment on an earlier one; I had been discussing compounds of the type I.In (n=4,6) as possible candidates for hypervalency. The comment suggests the below as a similar analogue, deriving from observations made in 1989.[1]



  1. Y. Mazaki, and K. Kobayashi, "Structure and intramolecular dynamics of bis(diisobutylselenocarbamoyl) triselenide as identified in solution by the 77Se-NMR spectroscopy", Tetrahedron Letters, vol. 30, pp. 2813-2816, 1989.

Hypervalent hydrogen?

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

I discussed the molecule the molecule CH3F2- a while back. It was a very rare computed example of a system where the added two electrons populate the higher valence shells known as Rydberg orbitals as an alternative to populating the C-F antibonding σ-orbital to produce CH3 and F. The net result was the creation of a weak C-F “hyperbond”, in which the C-F region has an inner conventional bond, with an outer “sheath” encircling the first bond. But this system very easily dissociates to CH3 and F and is hardly a viable candidate for experimental detection.  In an effort to “tune” this effect to see if a better candidate for such detection might be found, I tried CMe3F2-. Here is its story.


Multispectral Chiral Imaging with a Metalens.

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

The title here is from an article on metalenses[1] which caught my eye.



  1. M. Khorasaninejad, W.T. Chen, A.Y. Zhu, J. Oh, R.C. Devlin, D. Rousso, and F. Capasso, "Multispectral Chiral Imaging with a Metalens", Nano Letters, vol. 16, pp. 4595-4600, 2016.

Hypervalence and octet-expansion in trimethylene-λ6-sulfane and related species.

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Previously: “Non-polar” species such as SeMe6, SMe6, ClMe3, ClMe5 all revealed interesting properties for the Se-C, S-C or Cl-C “single” bonds. The latter two examples in particular hinted at internal structures for these single bonds, as manifested by two ELF basins for some of the bonds. Here I take a look at the related molecule where a formal double bond between carbon and the central sulfur atom replacing the single-bond might also hint at octet expansions and hypervalence.