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Determining the Regiochemistry and Relative Stereochemistry of Small and Druglike Molecules Using an Alignment Algorithm for Infrared Spectra

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posted on 15.06.2020, 19:35 by Lennard Böselt, Reinhard Dötzer, Sandra Steiner, Michaela Stritzinger, Susanne Salzmann, Sereina Riniker
The relative stereochemistry and isomeric substitution pattern of organic molecules is typically determined using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). However, NMR spectra are sometimes nonconclusive, e.g., if spectra are extremely crowded, coupling patterns are not resolved, or if symmetry reasons preclude interpretation. Infrared spectroscopy (IR) can provide additional information in such cases, because IR represents a molecule comprehensively by depiction of the complete set of its normal vibrations. The challenge is thereby that diastereomers and substitution isomers often give rise to highly similar IR spectra, and visual distinction is insufficient and may be biased. Here we show the adaptation of an alignment algorithm, originally developed for vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) spectroscopy, to automatically match IR spectra and provide a quantitative measure of the goodness of fit, which can be used to distinguish isomers. The performance of the approach is demonstrated for different use cases: diastereomers of flexible druglike molecules, E/Z-isomers, and substitution isomers of pyrazine and naphthalene. It can be applied to IR spectra measured both in the gas phase (gas chromatography IR) and in solution.