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How the Conical Intersection Seam Controls Chemical Selectivity in the Photocycloaddition of Ethylene and Benzene

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posted on 19.02.2016, 20:30 authored by Juan J. Serrano-Pérez, Freija de Vleeschouwer, Frank de Proft, David Mendive-Tapia, Michael J. Bearpark, Michael A. Robb
The photocycloaddition reaction of benzene with ethylene has been studied at the CASSCF level, including the characterization of an extended conical intersection seam. We show that the chemical selectivity is, in part, controlled by this extended conical intersection seam and that the shape of the conical intersection seam can be understood in terms of simple VB arguments. Further, the shape and energetics of the asynchronous segment of the conical intersection seam suggest that 1,2 (ortho) and 1,3 (meta) will be the preferred chemical products with similar weight. The 1,4 (para) point on the conical intersection is higher in energy and corresponds to a local maximum on the seam. VB analysis shows that the pairs of VB structures along this asynchronous seam are the same and thus the shape will be determined mainly by steric effects. Synchronous structures on the seam are higher in energy and belong to a different branch of the seam separated by a saddle point on the seam. On S1 we have documented three mechanistic pathways corresponding to transition states (with low barriers) between the reactants and the conical intersection seam: a mixed asynchronous/synchronous [1,2] ortho path, an asynchronous [1,3] meta path, and a synchronous [1,3] meta path.