skip to main content

Title: Proton relays in anomalous carbocations dictate spectroscopy, stability, and mechanisms: case studies on C 2 H 5 + and C 3 H 3 +
We present a detailed analysis of the anomalous carbocations: C 2 H 5 + and C 3 H 3 + . This work involves (a) probing electronic structural properties, (b) ab initio dynamics simulations over a range of internal energies, (c) analysis of reduced dimensional potential surfaces directed along selected conformational transition pathways, (d) dynamically averaged vibrational spectra computed from ab initio dynamics trajectories, and (e) two-dimensional time–frequency analysis to probe conformational dynamics. Key findings are as follows: (i) as noted in our previous study on C 2 H 3 + , it appears that these non-classical carbocations are stabilized by delocalized nuclear frameworks and “proton shuttles”. We analyze this nuclear delocalization and find critical parallels between conformational changes in C 2 H 3 + , C 2 H 5 + , and C 3 H 3 + . (ii) The vibrational signatures of C 2 H 5 + are dominated by the “bridge-proton” conformation, but also show critical contributions from the “classical” configuration, which is a transition state at almost all levels of theory. This result is further substantiated through two-dimensional time–frequency analysis and is at odds with earlier explanations of the experimental spectra, where frequencies close to the classical region were thought to arise from an impurity. While this is still possible, our results here indicate an additional (perhaps more likely) explanation that involves the “classical” isomer. (iii) Finally, in the case of C 3 H 3 + our explanation of the experimental result includes the presence of multiple, namely, “cyclic”, “straight”, and propargyl, configurations. Proton shuttles and nuclear delocalization, reminiscent of those seen in the case of C 2 H 3 + , were seen all through and have a critical role in all our observations.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.
Page Range / eLocation ID:
27801 to 27816
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    A remarkable distinction between boron and carbon hydrides lies in their extremely different bonding patterns and chemical reactivity, resulting in diverse areas of application. Particularly, carbon, characterized by classical two‐center – two‐electron bonds, gives rise to organic chemistry. In contrast, boron forms numerous exotic and non‐intuitive compounds collectively called non‐classical structures. It is reasonable to anticipate that other elements of Group 13 exhibit their own unusual bonding patterns; however, our knowledge of the hydride chemistry for other elements in Group 13 is much more limited, especially for the heaviest stable element, thallium. In this work, we performed a conformational analysis of Tl2Hxand Tl3Hy(x=0–6, y=0–5) series via Coalescence Kick global minimum search algorithm, DFT, andab initioquantum chemistry methods; we investigated the bonding pattern using the AdNDP algorithm, thermodynamic stability, and stability toward electron detachment. All found global minimum structures are classified as non‐classical structures featuring at least one multi‐center bond.

    more » « less
  2. The gas-phase reaction of the methylidyne (CH; X 2 Π) radical with dimethylacetylene (CH 3 CCCH 3 ; X 1 A 1g ) was studied at a collision energy of 20.6 kJ mol −1 under single collision conditions with experimental results merged with ab initio calculations of the potential energy surface (PES) and ab initio molecule dynamics (AIMD) simulations. The crossed molecular beam experiment reveals that the reaction proceeds barrierless via indirect scattering dynamics through long-lived C 5 H 7 reaction intermediate(s) ultimately dissociating to C 5 H 6 isomers along with atomic hydrogen with atomic hydrogen predominantly released from the methyl groups as verified by replacing the methylidyne with the D1-methylidyne reactant. AIMD simulations reveal that the reaction dynamics are statistical leading predominantly to p28 (1-methyl-3-methylenecyclopropene, 13%) and p8 (1-penten-3-yne, 81%) plus atomic hydrogen with a significant amount of available energy being channeled into the internal excitation of the polyatomic reaction products. The dynamics are controlled by addition to the carbon–carbon triple bond with the reaction intermediates eventually eliminating a hydrogen atom from the methyl groups of the dimethylacetylene reactant forming 1-methyl-3-methylenecyclopropene (p28). The dominating pathways reveal an unexpected insertion of methylidyne into one of the six carbon–hydrogen single bonds of the methyl groups of dimethylacetylene leading to the acyclic intermediate, which then decomposes to 1-penten-3-yne (p8). Therefore, the methyl groups of dimethylacetylene effectively ‘screen’ the carbon–carbon triple bond from being attacked by addition thus directing the dynamics to an insertion process as seen exclusively in the reaction of methylidyne with ethane (C 2 H 6 ) forming propylene (CH 3 C 2 H 3 ). Therefore, driven by the screening of the triple bond, one propynyl moiety (CH 3 CC) acts in four out of five trajectories as a spectator thus driving an unexpected, but dominating chemistry in analogy to the methylidyne – ethane system. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The conformational transition of a fluorinated amphiphilic dendrimer is monitored by the1H signal from water, alongside the19F signal from the dendrimer. High‐field NMR data (chemical shiftδ, self‐diffusion coefficientD, longitudinal relaxation rateR1, and transverse relaxation rateR2) for both dendrimer (19F) and water (1H) match each other in detecting the conformational transition. Among all parameters for both nuclei, the water proton transverse‐relaxation rateR2(1H2O) displays the highest relative scale of change upon conformational transition of the dendrimer. Hydrogen/deuterium‐exchange mass spectrometry reveals that the compact form of the dendrimer has slower proton exchange with water than the extended form. This result suggests that the sensitivity ofR2(1H2O) toward dendrimer conformation originates, at least partially, from the difference in proton exchange efficiency between different dendrimer conformations. Finally, we also demonstrated that this conformational transition could be conveniently monitored using a low‐field benchtop NMR spectrometer viaR2(1H2O). The1H2O signal thus offers a simple way to monitor structural changes of macromolecules using benchtop time‐domain NMR.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Using water as a hydrogen source is a promising strategy for alternative hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) synthesis. By a series of ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations and reactive molecular dynamics (RxMD) calculations, fundamental details have been revealed regarding how liquid water interacts with oxygen on a metal-free carbon nitride catalyst, and the two-step reaction mechanism of H 2 O 2 synthesis. Metal-free porous graphitic carbon nitride (g-C 5 N 2 ) catalysts are also systematically screened by using a thermodynamics approach through the ab initio density functional theory (DFT) method. Key results include: (a) pristine g-C 5 N 2 is most active to catalyze the H 2 O/O 2 reaction and produce H 2 O 2 ; (b) the adsorption and activation of water at unsaturated carbon sites of g-C 5 N 2 are critical to initiate the H 2 O/O 2 reaction, producing HOO* intermediates; (c) interfacial free water and adsorbed water at g-C 5 N 2 form a synergetic proton transfer cluster to promote HOO* intermediates to form H 2 O 2 . To the best of our knowledge, this work presents long-needed theoretical details of direct H 2 O 2 synthesis via the water/oxygen system, which can guide further optimization of carbon-based catalysts for oxygen reduction reactions. 
    more » « less
  5. Proton transfer is crucial in various chemical and biological processes. Because of significant nuclear quantum effects, accurate and efficient description of proton transfer remains a great challenge. In this Communication, we apply constrained nuclear–electronic orbital density functional theory (CNEO-DFT) and constrained nuclear–electronic orbital molecular dynamics (CNEO-MD) to three prototypical shared proton systems and investigate their proton transfer modes. We find that with a good description of nuclear quantum effects, CNEO-DFT and CNEO-MD can well describe the geometries and vibrational spectra of the shared proton systems. Such a good performance is in significant contrast to DFT and DFT-based ab initio molecular dynamics, which often fail for shared proton systems. As an efficient method based on classical simulations, CNEO-MD is promising for future investigations of larger and more complex proton transfer systems.

    more » « less