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Halogen Bond Asymmetry in Solution

Journal article
Authors Sofia Lindblad
Krenare Mehmeti
Alberte X. Veiga
Bijan Nekoueishahraki
Jürgen Gräfenstein
Mate Erdelyi
Published in Journal of the American Chemical Society
Volume 140
Pages 13503-13513
ISSN 0002-7863
Publication year 2018
Published at Swedish NMR Centre at Göteborg University
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 13503-13513
Language en
Subject categories Chemical Sciences


© 2018 American Chemical Society. Halogen bonding is the noncovalent interaction of halogen atoms in which they act as electron acceptors. Whereas three-center hydrogen bond complexes, [D···H···D]+ where D is an electron donor, exist in solution as rapidly equilibrating asymmetric species, the analogous halogen bonds, [D···X···D]+, have been observed so far only to adopt static and symmetric geometries. Herein, we investigate whether halogen bond asymmetry, i.e., a [D-X···D]+ bond geometry, in which one of the D-X bonds is shorter and stronger, could be induced by modulation of electronic or steric factors. We have also attempted to convert a static three-center halogen bond complex into a mixture of rapidly exchanging asymmetric isomers, [D···X-D]+ ⇄ [D-X···D]+, corresponding to the preferred form of the analogous hydrogen bonded complexes. Using 15N NMR, IPE NMR, and DFT, we prove that a static, asymmetric geometry, [D-X···D]+, is obtained upon desymmetrization of the electron density of a complex. We demonstrate computationally that conversion into a dynamic mixture of asymmetric geometries, [D···X-D]+ r← [D-X···D]+, is achievable upon increasing the donor-donor distance. However, due to the high energetic gain upon formation of the three-center-four-electron halogen bond, the assessed complex strongly prefers to form a dimer with two static and symmetric three-center halogen bonds over a dynamic and asymmetric halogen bonded form. Our observations indicate a vastly different preference in the secondary bonding of H+ and X+. Understanding the consequences of electronic and steric influences on the strength and geometry of the three-center halogen bond provides useful knowledge on chemical bonding and for the development of improved halonium transfer agents.

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