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Geometry and Energy of Substituted Phenyl Cations

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journal contribution
posted on 04.01.2008, 00:00 by Simone Lazzaroni, Daniele Dondi, Maurizio Fagnoni, Angelo Albini
The geometry and the energy of a number of substituted phenyl cations have been calculated for both spin states at the UB3LYP/6-31G(d) level (o-, m-, p-Me, OMe, NH2, CN, NO2) or at the UB3LYP/6-311++G(2d,p) level (o-, m-, p-SiMe3, SMe). The geometric differences were assessed by means of a self-organizing neural network. The triplets maintain a regular hexagonal structure that is minimally affected by substituents, while in the singlets C1 puckers inward and, when an electron-donating group is present, shifts out of the plane. The triplets have the character of aromatic radical ions and are strongly stabilized by electron-donating substituents, independently of the position of the latter. In the case of singlets, the effect of substituents on the energy is weaker and depends on the position (the largest effect is exerted when the group is in meta). A two-parameter correlation of all of the triplet energies shows the predominant mesomeric effect of the substituents. In the case of singlets, linear correlations are obtained only when each position is treated separately and when the predominant effect is inductive for the ortho and, less markedly, the para position, whereas at the meta position, mesomeric and inductive effects are comparable. The ground state is determined to be the singlet for the parent cation and for electron-withdrawing substituted ions. With electron-donating substituents, the triplet is the ground state for ortho and para derivatives, while the two spin states are roughly isoenergetic when the donating group is in the meta position. These data allow predicting the reactivity of each cation.