American Chemical Society
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Effect of Ring Strain on Nucleophilic Substitution at Selenium:  A Computational Study of Cyclic Diselenides and Selenenyl Sulfides

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-07-06, 00:00 authored by Steven M. Bachrach, Claire J. Walker, Fiona Lee, Sarah Royce
Nucleophilic substitution reactions of small rings incorporating selenium are examined using computational methods. The potential energy surfaces of HS- and HSe- with 1,2-diselenirane, 1,2-diselenetane, 1,2-diselenolane, and 1,2-diselenane were computed at B3LYP/6-31+G(d) and MP2/6-31+G(d). The reactions of three-, four-, five-, and six-membered rings incorporating the S−Se bond with HS- were computed at B3LYP/6-31+G(d). The strained three- and four-membered diselenides and selenenyl sulfide rings undergo SN2 reactions, while the five- and six-membered rings react via the addition−elimination pathway, a path that invokes a hypercoordinate selenium intermediate. The strain in the small rings precludes the addition of a further ligand to either heteroatom. Substitution at selenium is both kinetically and thermodynamically favored over attack at sulfur.