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Acidity Trends in α,β-Unsaturated Alkanes, Silanes, Germanes, and Stannanes

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journal contribution
posted on 07.06.2001, 00:00 by Jean-François Gal, Michèle Decouzon, Pierre-Charles Maria, Ana I. González, Otilia Mó, Manuel Yáñez, Saloua El Chaouch, Jean-Claude Guillemin
The gas-phase acidity of ethyl-, vinyl-, ethynyl-, and phenyl-substituted silanes, germanes, and stannanes has been measured by means of FT-ICR techniques. The effect of unsaturation on the intrinsic acidity of these compounds and the corresponding hydrocarbons was analyzed through the use of G2 ab initio and DFT calculations. In this way, it was possible to get a general picture of the acidity trends within group 14. As expected, the acid strength increases down the group, although the acidity differences between germanium and tin derivatives are already rather small. As has been found before for amines, phosphines, and arsines, the carbon, silicon, germanium, and tin α,β-unsaturated compounds are stronger acids than their saturated analogues. The acidifying effect of unsaturation is much larger for carbon than for Si-, Ge-, and Sn-containing compounds. The allyl anion is better stabilized by resonance than its Si, Ge, and Sn analogues, [CH2 CH+δ‘ CH2]- vs [CH2II  CHIII  XH2IV]- (X = Si, Ge, Sn). The enhanced acid strength of unsaturated compounds is essentially due to a greater stabilization of the anion with respect to the neutral, because the electronegativity of the α,β-unsaturated carbon group increases with its degree of unsaturation. The phenyl derivatives are systematically weaker acids than the corresponding ethynyl derivatives by 15−20 kJ mol-1. Experimentally, toluene acidity is very close to that of propyne, because the deprotonation of propyne takes place preferentially at the ⋮CH group rather than at the CH3 group.