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This content will become publicly available on June 15, 2023

Title: Quantum mechanical effects in acid–base chemistry
Acid–base chemistry has immense importance for explaining and predicting the chemical products formed by an acid and a base when mixed together. However, the traditional chemistry theories used to describe acid–base reactions do not take into account the effect arising from the quantum mechanical nature of the acidic hydrogen shuttling potential and its dependence on the acid base distance. Here, infrared and NMR spectroscopies, in combination with first principles simulations, are performed to demonstrate that quantum mechanical effects, including electronic and nuclear quantum effects, play an essential role in defining the acid–base chemistry when 1-methylimidazole and acetic acid are mixed together. In particular, it is observed that the acid and the base interact to form a complex containing a strong hydrogen bond, in which the acidic hydrogen atom is neither close to the acid nor to the base, but delocalized between them. In addition, the delocalization of the acidic hydrogen atom in the complex leads to characteristic IR and NMR signatures. The presence of a hydrogen delocalized state in this simple system challenges the conventional knowledge of acid–base chemistry and opens up new avenues for designing materials in which specific properties produced by the hydrogen delocalized state can be harvested.
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Chemical Science
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
6998 to 7006
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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