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Photochemistry of Furyl- and Thienyldiazomethanes: Spectroscopic Characterization of Triplet 3-Thienylcarbene

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journal contribution
posted on 11.04.2012, 00:00 by Caroline R. Pharr, Laura A. Kopff, Brian Bennett, Scott A. Reid, Robert J. McMahon
Photolysis (λ > 543 nm) of 3-thienyldiazomethane (1), matrix isolated in Ar or N2 at 10 K, yields triplet 3-thienylcarbene (13) and α-thial-methylenecyclopropene (9). Carbene 13 was characterized by IR, UV/vis, and EPR spectroscopy. The conformational isomers of 3-thienylcarbene (s-E and s-Z) exhibit an unusually large difference in zero-field splitting parameters in the triplet EPR spectrum (|D/hc| = 0.508 cm–1, |E/hc| = 0.0554 cm–1; |D/hc| = 0.579 cm–1, |E/hc| = 0.0315 cm–1). Natural Bond Orbital (NBO) calculations reveal substantially differing spin densities in the 3-thienyl ring at the positions adjacent to the carbene center, which is one factor contributing to the large difference in D values. NBO calculations also reveal a stabilizing interaction between the sp orbital of the carbene carbon in the s-Z rotamer of 13 and the antibonding σ orbital between sulfur and the neighboring carbonan interaction that is not observed in the s-E rotamer of 13. In contrast to the EPR spectra, the electronic absorption spectra of the rotamers of triplet 3-thienylcarbene (13) are indistinguishable under our experimental conditions. The carbene exhibits a weak electronic absorption in the visible spectrum (λmax = 467 nm) that is characteristic of triplet arylcarbenes. Although studies of 2-thienyldiazomethane (2), 3-furyldiazomethane (3), or 2-furyldiazomethane (4) provided further insight into the photochemical interconversions among C5H4S or C5H4O isomers, these studies did not lead to the spectroscopic detection of the corresponding triplet carbenes (2-thienylcarbene (11), 3-furylcarbene (23), or 2-furylcarbene (22), respectively).