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Electronic State of Push−Pull Alkenes:  An Experimental Dynamic NMR and Theoretical ab Initio MO Study

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journal contribution
posted on 25.06.2004, 00:00 by Erich Kleinpeter, Sabrina Klod, Wolf-Dieter Rudorf
The 1H and 13C NMR spectra of a number of push−pull alkenes were recorded and the 13C chemical shifts calculated employing the GIAO perturbation method. Of the various levels of theory tried, MP2 calculations with a triple-ζ-valence basis set were found to be the most effective for providing reliable results. The effect of the solvent was also considered but only by single-point calculations. Generally, the agreement between the experimental and theoretically calculated 13C chemical shifts was good with only the carbons of the carbonyl, thiocarbonyl, and cyano groups deviating significantly. The substituents on the different sides of the central CC partial double bond were classified qualitatively with respect to their donor (S,S < S,N < N,N) and acceptor properties (C≡N < CO < CS) and according to the ring size on the donor side (6 < 7 < 5). The geometries of both the ground (GS) and transition states (TS) of the restricted rotation about the central CC partial double bond were also calculated at the HF and MP2 levels of theory and the free energy differences compared with the barriers to rotation determined experimentally by dynamic NMR spectroscopy. Structural differences between the various push−pull alkenes were reproduced well, but the barriers to rotation were generally overestimated theoretically. Nevertheless, by correlating the barriers to rotation and the length of the central CC partial double bonds, the push−pull alkenes could be classified with respect to the amount of hydrogen bonding present, the extent of donor−acceptor interactions (the pushpull effect), and the level of steric hindrance within the molecules. Finally, by means of NBO analysis of a set of model push−pull alkenes (acceptors:  −C≡N, −CHO, and −CHS; donors:  S, O, and NH), the occupation numbers of the bonding π orbitals of the central CC partial double bond were shown to quantitatively describe the acceptor powers of the substituents and the corresponding occupation numbers of the antibonding π* orbital the donor powers of the substituents. Thus, for the first time an estimation of both the acceptor and the donor properties of the substituents attached to the push−pull double bond have been separately quantified. Furthermore, both the balance between strong donor/weak acceptor substituents (and vice versa) and the additional influences on the barriers to rotation (hydrogen bonding and steric hindrance in the GSs and TSs) could be differentiated.