4 years ago

Stabilizing a different cyclooctatetraene stereoisomer [Chemistry]

Stabilizing a different cyclooctatetraene stereoisomer [Chemistry]
Henry F. Schaefer III, Roald Hoffmann, Bo Chen, Yaoming Xie, Ming Lei, Longfei Li

An unconventional cis-cis-cis-trans or (Z,Z,Z,E) structure B of cyclooctatetraene (COT) is calculated to lie only 23 kcal/mol above the well-known tub-shaped (Z,Z,Z,Z) isomer A; one example of this type of structure is known. The barrier for B returning to A is small, 3 kcal/mol. However, by suitable choice of substituents, the (Z,Z,Z,E) isomer can be made to lie in energy below the tub-shaped structure. Steric, clamping, and electronic strategies are proposed for achieving this. In the steric strategy, the C8H4(CH3)2(C(tBu)3)2 structure B is predicted to lie 21 kcal/mol below structure A, which is separated from form B only by a small barrier. A simple clamping strategy, effective for COT planarization, does not influence the A/B isomerization much. But, if the clamping group is aromatic (a fused benzene, pyrrole, thiophene, furan), the subtle interplay of potential aromaticity with clamping can be used to confer persistence if not stability on the (Z,Z,Z,E) isomer. An electronic strategy of a different kind, push–pull substitution on the COT ring, was not very effective in stabilizing the B form. However, it led us to vicinal amine–borane-substituted normal COTs that proved to be quite good at activating H2 in a frustrated Lewis pair scenario.

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