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Proton Transfers in Aromatic and Antiaromatic Systems. How Aromatic or Antiaromatic Is the Transition State? An Ab Initio Study

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journal contribution
posted on 09.04.2008, 00:00 by Claude F. Bernasconi, Philip J. Wenzel, Mark L. Ragains
An ab initio study of six carbon-to-carbon identity proton transfers is reported. They refer to the benzenium ion/benzene (C6/C6H6), the 2,4-cyclopentadiene/cyclopentadienyl anion (C5H6/C5), and the cyclobutenyl cation/cyclobutadiene (C4/C4H4) systems and their respective noncyclic reference systems, that is, ,  and . For the aromatic C6/C6H6 and C5H6/C5systems, geometric parameters and aromaticity indices indicate that the transition states are highly aromatic. The proton-transfer barriers in these systems are quite low, which is consistent with a disproportionately high degree of transition-state aromaticity. For the antiaromatic C4/C4H4 system, the geometric parameters and aromaticity indices indicate a rather small degree of antiaromaticity of the transition state. However, the proton-transfer barrier is higher than expected for a transition state with a low antiaromaticity. This implies that another factor contributes to the barrier; it is suggested that this factor is angle and torsional strain in the transition state. The question whether charge delocalization at the transition state might correlate with the development of aromaticity was also examined. No such correlation was found, that is, charge delocalization lags behind proton transfer as is commonly observed in nonaromatic systems involving π-acceptor groups.