Posts Tagged ‘X-ray’

To be cyclobutadiene, or not to be, that is the question? You decide.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

A quartet of articles has recently appeared on the topic of cyclobutadiene.[1],[2],[3],[4]. You will find a great deal discussed there, but I can boil it down to this essence. Do the following coordinates (obtained from a (disordered) previously published[5] x-ray refinement) correspond to a van der Waals complex of 1,3-dimethyl cyclobutadiene and carbon dioxide, or do they instead represent a covalent interaction between these two components resulting in a compound with the chemical name 2-oxabicyclo[2.2.0]hex-5-en-3-one (i.e. not a cyclobutadiene)?

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References

  1. H.S. Rzepa, "A Computational Evaluation of the Evidence for the Synthesis of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene in the Solid State and Aqueous Solution", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4932-4937, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201102942
  2. M. Shatruk, and I.V. Alabugin, "Reinvestigation of “Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-dimethylcyclobutadiene”", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4942-4945, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201103017
  3. Y. Legrand, D. Dumitrescu, A. Gilles, E. Petit, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "A Constrained Disorder Refinement: “Reinvestigation of “Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene” by M. Shatruk and I. V. Alabugin”", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4946-4950, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201203234
  4. Y. Legrand, D. Dumitrescu, A. Gilles, E. Petit, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "Reply to A Computational Evaluation of the Evidence for the Synthesis of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene in Solid State and Aqueous Solution-Beyond the Experimental Reality", Chemistry - A European Journal, vol. 19, pp. 4938-4941, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.201203235
  5. Y. Legrand, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene by Confinement in a Crystalline Matrix", Science, vol. 329, pp. 299-302, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1188002

Helically conjugated molecules. A follow-up to [144]-annulene.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

An extensive discussion developed regarding my post on a fascinating helical [144]-annulene. Topics included the nature of the ring current sustained by the π-electrons and in particular the bond-length alternation around the periphery and whether this should alter if the electron count were to be changed to that of a 4n+2 system (i.e. a dication). Whilst the [144]-annulene itself is hypothetical, it emerged that some compounds known as expanded porphyrins have very similar (albeit smaller scale) helical structures. X-ray structures for two such provide useful reality checks on the calculations. Here‡ I include the (3D) coordinates of these two systems so that you can explore for yourself their helicity.

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σ-π-Conjugation: seeking evidence by a survey of crystal structures.

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

The electronic interaction between a single bond and an adjacent double bond is often called σ-π-conjugation (an older term for this is hyperconjugation), and the effect is often used to e.g. explain why more highly substituted carbocations are more stable than less substituted ones. This conjugation is more subtle in neutral molecules, but following my use of crystal structures to explore the so-called gauche effect (which originates from σ-σ-conjugation), I thought I would have a go here at seeing what the crystallographic evidence actually is for the σ-π-type.

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Alkyne metathesis: a comparison with alkene metathesis.

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Metathesis reactions are a series of catalysed transformations which transpose the atoms in alkenes or alkynes. Alkyne metathesis is closely related to the same reaction for alkenes, and one catalyst that is specific to alkynes was introduced by Schrock (who with Grubbs won the Nobel prize for these discoveries) and is based on tungsten (M=W(OR)3).

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Streptomycin: a case study in the progress of science.

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Streptomycin is an antibiotic active against tuberculosis, and its discovery has become something of a cause célèbre. It was first isolated on October 19, 1943 by a graduate student Albert Schatz in the laboratory of Selman Waksman at Rutgers University. I want to concentrate in this post on its molecular structure. Its initial isolation was followed by an extraordinarily concentrated period of about three years devoted to identifying that structure, culminating in a review of this chemistry in 1948 by Lemieux and Wolfram.[1] This review presents the structure as shown below (left). The modern rendering on the right is based on a crystal structure done in 1978.[2]

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References

  1. R. Lemieux, and M. Wolfrom, "The Chemistry of Streptomycin", Advances in Carbohydrate Chemistry, pp. 337-384, 1948. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0096-5332(08)60034-X
  2. S. Neidle, D. Rogers, and M.B. Hursthouse, "The Crystal and Molecular Structure of Streptomycin Oxime Selenate Tetrahydrate", Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, vol. 359, pp. 365-388, 1978. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1978.0047

Computers 1967-2011: a personal perspective. Part 4. Moore’s Law and Molecules.

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Moore’s law describes a long-term trend in the evolution of computing hardware, and it is often interpreted in terms of processing speed. Here I chart this rise in terms of the size of computable molecules. By computable I mean specifically how long it takes to predict the geometry of a given molecule using a quantum mechanical procedure.

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Hafnium and Niels Bohr

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

In 1923, Coster and von Hevesey[1] claimed discovery of the element Hafnium, atomic number 72 (latin Hafnia, meaning Copenhagen, where the authors worked) on the basis of six lines in its X-ray spectrum. The debate had long raged as to whether (undiscovered) element 72 belonged to the rare-earth group 3 of the periodic table below yttrium, or whether it should be placed in group 4 below zirconium. Establishing its chemical properties finally placed it in group 4. Why is this apparently arcane and obscure re-assignment historically significant? Because, in June 1922, in Göttingen, Niels Bohr had given a famous series of lectures now known as the Bohr Festspiele on the topic of his electron shell theory of the atom. Prior to giving these lectures he had submitted his collected thoughts in January 1922[2].

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References

  1. D. COSTER, and G. HEVESY, "On the Missing Element of Atomic Number 72", Nature, vol. 111, pp. 79-79, 1923. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/111079a0
  2. N. Bohr, "Der Bau der Atome und die physikalischen und chemischen Eigenschaften der Elemente", Zeitschrift f�r Physik, vol. 9, pp. 1-67, 1922. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01326955

Déjà vu all over again. Are H…H interactions attractive or repulsive?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The Pirkle reagent is a 9-anthranyl derivative (X=OH, Y=CF3). The previous post on the topic had highlighted DIST1, the separation of the two hydrogen atoms shown below. The next question to ask is how general this feature is. Here we take a look at the distribution of lengths found in the Cambridge data base, and focus on another interesting example.

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The colour of Monastral blue (part 2).

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Andy Mclean posted a comment to my story of copper phthalocyanine (Monastral blue). The issue was its colour, and more specifically why this pigment has two peaks λmax 610 and 710nm making it blue. The first was accurately reproduced by calculation on the monomer, but the second was absent with such a model. Andy suggested this latter was due to stacking. Here, the calculated spectrum of a stacked dimer is explored.

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Can a cyclobutadiene and carbon dioxide co-exist in a calixarene cavity?

Friday, November 19th, 2010

On 8th August this year, I posted on a fascinating article that had just appeared in Science[1] in which the crystal structure was reported of two small molecules, 1,3-dimethyl cyclobutadiene and carbon dioxide, entrapped together inside a calixarene cavity. Other journals (e.g. Nature Chemistry[2] ran the article as a research highlight (where the purpose is not a critical analysis but more of an alerting service). A colleague, David Scheschkewitz, pointed me to the article. We both independently analyzed different aspects, and first David, and then I then submitted separate articles for publication describing what we had found. Science today published both David’s thoughts[3] and also those of another independent group, Igor Alabugin and colleagues[4]. The original authors have in turn responded [5]. My own article on the topic will appear very shortly[6]. You can see quite a hornet’s nest has been stirred up!

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References

  1. Y. Legrand, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene by Confinement in a Crystalline Matrix", Science, vol. 329, pp. 299-302, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1188002
  2. A. Pichon, "Structure of a strained ring", Nature Chemistry, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchem.823
  3. D. Scheschkewitz, "Comment on "Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene by Confinement in a Crystalline Matrix"", Science, vol. 330, pp. 1047-1047, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1195752
  4. I.V. Alabugin, B. Gold, M. Shatruk, and K. Kovnir, "Comment on "Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene by Confinement in a Crystalline Matrix"", Science, vol. 330, pp. 1047-1047, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1196188
  5. Y. Legrand, A. van der Lee, and M. Barboiu, "Response to Comments on "Single-Crystal X-ray Structure of 1,3-Dimethylcyclobutadiene by Confinement in a Crystalline Matrix"", Science, vol. 330, pp. 1047-1047, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1195846
  6. H.S. Rzepa, "Can 1,3-dimethylcyclobutadiene and carbon dioxide co-exist inside a supramolecular cavity?", Chem. Commun., vol. 47, pp. 1851-1853, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C0CC04023A