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Title:  Why Do N-Alkylated Anilides Bend Over? The Factors Dictating the Divergent Conformational Preferences of 2° and 3° N-Aryl Amides
The conformational preferences of 28 sterically and electronically diverse N-aryl amides were detd. using d. functional theory (DFT), using the B3LYP functional and 6-31G(d) basis set.  For each compd., both the cis and trans conformers were optimized, and the difference in ground state energy calcd.  For six of the compds., the potential energy surface was detd. as a function of rotation about the N-aryl bond (by 5° increments) for both cis and trans conformers.  A natural bond orbital (NBO) deletion strategy was also employed to det. the extent of the contribution of conjugation to the energies of each of the conformers.  By comparing these computational results with previously reported exptl. data, an explanation for the divergent conformational preferences of 2° N-aryl amides and 3° N-alkyl-N-aryl amides was formulated.  This explanation accounts for the obsd. relationships of both steric and electronic factors detg. the geometry of the optimum conformation, and the magnitude of the energetic difference between cis and trans conformers: except under the most extreme scenarios, 2° amides maintain a trans conformation, and the N-bound arene lies in the same plane as the amide unless it has ortho substituents; for 3° N-alkyl-N-aryl amides in which the alkyl and aryl substituents more » are connected in a small ring, trans conformations are also favored, for most cases other than formamides, and the arene and amide remain in conjugation; and for 3° N-alkyl-N-aryl amides in which the alkyl and aryl substituents are not connected in a small ring, allylic strain between the two N-bound substituents forces the aryl substituent to rotate out of the plane of the amide, and the trans conformation is destabilized with respect to the cis conformation due to repulsion between the π system of the arene and the lone pairs on the oxygen atom of the carbonyl.  The cis conformation is increasingly more stable than the trans conformation as electron d. is increased on the arene because the more electron-rich arenes adopt a more orthogonal arrangement, increasing the interaction with the carbonyl oxygen, while simultaneously increasing the magnitude of the repulsion due to the increased electron d. in the π system.  The trans conformation is favored for 2° amides even when the arene is orthogonal to the amide, in nearly all cases, because the C-N-C bond angle can expend at the expense of the C-N-H bond angles, while this is not favorable for 3° amides. « less
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The journal of physical chemistry
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National Science Foundation
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