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Interplay between n→π* Interactions and Dynamic Covalent Bonds: Quantification and Modulation by Solvent Effects

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journal contribution
posted on 10.05.2019, 00:00 by Hao Zheng, Hebo Ye, Xiaoxia Yu, Lei You
Orbital donor–acceptor interactions play critical roles throughout chemistry, and hence, their regulation and functionalization are of great significance. Herein we demonstrate for the first time the investigation of n→π* interactions through the strategy of dynamic covalent chemistry (DCC), and we further showcase its use in the stabilization of imine. The n→π* interaction between donor X and acceptor aldehyde/imine within 2-X-2′-formylbiphenyl derivatives was found to significantly influence the thermodynamics of imine exchange. The orbital interaction was then quantified through imine exchange, the equilibrium of which was successfully correlated with the difference in natural bond orbital stabilization energy of n→π* interactions of aldehyde and its imine. Moreover, the examination of solvent effects provided insights into the distinct feature of the modulation of n→π* interaction with aprotic and protic solvents. The n→π* interaction involving imine was enhanced in protic solvents due to hydrogen bonding with the solvent. This finding further enabled the stabilization of imine in purely aqueous solution. The strategies and results reported should find application in many fields, including molecular recognition, biological labeling, and asymmetric catalysis.