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Concept: Steric effects


Reported herein is the development of an effective strategy for controlled and efficient Lewis pair polymerization of conjugated polar alkenes, including methyl methacrylate (MMA),n-butyl methacrylate (nBuMA), and γ-methyl-α-methylene-γ-butyrolactone (γMMBL), by the utilization of sterically encumbered Al(BHT)₂Me (BHT: 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol) as a Lewis acid that shuts down intramolecular backbiting termination. In combination with a selectedN-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) as a Lewis base, the polymerization of MMA exhibited activity up to 3000 h-1TOF and an acceptable initiation efficiency of 60.6%, producing polymers with high molecular weight (Mnup to 130 kg/mol) and extremely narrow dispersity (Đ= 1.06~1.13). This controlled polymerization with a living characteristic has been evidenced by chain-extension experiments and chain-end analysis, and enabled the synthesis of well-defined diblock copolymers.

Concepts: Polymer, Copolymer, Gilbert N. Lewis, Steric effects, Random coil


Novel enantiopure pseudopeptide models containing a central -(beta-lactam)-(Aa)- scaffold characterized by the combined presence of an alpha-alkyl-alpha-amino-beta-lactam (i+1) residue and a alpha-substituted (i+2) amino acid have been readily synthesized from alpha-alkyl serines. The conformational analysis of such beta-lactam pseudopeptides conducted in CDCl3 and DMSOd6 solutions using 1D and 2D-NMR techniques revealed an equilibrium between beta-II turn and gamma-turn conformers, which was ultimately modulated by the relative configuration of the -(beta-lactam)-(Aa)- residues. Long range chiral effects on the alpha-lactam pseudopeptide conformers were also found when two (i) and (i+3) chiral residues were attached to the termini of a central -(beta-lactam)-(Aib)- segment. In such mimetics, heterochiral (i) and (i+3) residues reinforced a beta-II turn conformer, whereas homochiral corner residues stabilized an overlapped beta-II/ beta-I double turn motif. No beta-hairpin nucleation was observed in any instance. In good agreement with the conformers found in solution, beta-turned and open structures were also characterized by X-ray crystallography. Relative stabilities of the different conformers were estimated computationally at a B3LYP/6-31++G** calculation level and, finally, a conformation equilibrium model based on steric inter-residual interactions around the -(beta-lactam)-(i+2)- segment was proposed to account for the observed chiral effects.

Concepts: Amino acid, Stereochemistry, Steric effects, Conformational isomerism, Isomer, Folding, Cyclohexane conformation


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 S(1) 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.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Transition state, Metaphysics, Second derivative test, Critical point, Maxima and minima, Steric effects, Separated sets


The concept of geometrical constraints and steric hindrance in reactions is implanted deeply in a chemist’s ‘chemical intuition’. However, until now a true three-dimensional view of these steric effects has not been realized experimentally for any chemical reaction in full. Here we report the complete three-dimensional characterization of the sterics of a benchmark polyatomic reaction by measuring the dependence of the product state-resolved angular distributions on the spatial alignment of the reactive bond in a crossed molecular beam experiment. The results prove the existence of two distinct microscopic reaction mechanisms. Detailed analysis reveals that the origin of the stereodynamics in the HCl(ν = 0) + CD(3)(0(0)) product channel can be captured by a textbook line-of-centres collision model. In contrast, a time-delay pathway, which includes a sharp switch from in-plane to out-of-plane scattering in the forwards direction, appears to be operative in forming the excited HCl(ν = 1) + CD(3)(0(0)) product pair.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Molecule, Stereochemistry, Chemistry, Steric effects, Conformational isomerism, Random coil, Hyperconjugation


A diisopropylcarbodiimide/Oxyma (ethyl 2-cyano-2-(hydroxyimino)acetate) coupling cocktail was successfully incorporated into the automated microwave-assisted synthesis of two peptaibols and one analog, whose previously reported syntheses were complicated by steric hindrance. This method utilizes commercially available reagents and affords alamethicin F50/5 and bergofungin D in high yields and purities along with an appreciable reduction of synthesis time and cost when compared to previously reported methods.

Concepts: Chemical synthesis, Steric effects


The intramolecular Diels-Alder reactions of cycloalkenones and terminal dienes occur with high endo stereoselectivity, both thermally and under Lewis-acidic conditions. Through computations, we show that steric repulsion and tether conformation govern the selectivity of the reaction, and incorporation of either BF3 or α-halogenation increases the rate of cycloaddition. With a longer tether, isomerization from a terminal diene to the more stable internal diene results in a more facile cycloaddition.

Concepts: Stereochemistry, Gilbert N. Lewis, Acceleration, Steric effects, Diene, Conformational isomerism, Physical organic chemistry, Dienes


PEGylation in polymeric nanomedicine has gained substantial predominance in biomedical applications due to its resistance to protein absorption, which is critically important for a therapeutic delivery system in blood circulation. The shielding layer of PEGylation, however, creates significant steric hindrance that negatively impacts cellular uptake and intracellular distribution at the target site. This unexpected effect compromises the biological efficacy of the encapsulated payload. To address this issue, one of the key strategies is to tether the disulfide bond to PEG for constructing a disulfide-bridged cleavable PEGylation. The reversible disulfide bond can be cleaved to enable selective PEG detachment. This article provides an overview on the strategy, method and progress of PEGylation nanosystem with the cleavable disulfide bond.

Concepts: Protein, Molecular biology, Blood, Heart, Disulfide bond, Steric effects, Conformational isomerism, Random coil


The directed activation of carbon-hydrogen bonds (C-H) is important in the development of synthetically useful reactions, owing to the proximity-induced reactivity and selectivity that is enabled by coordinating functional groups. Palladium-catalysed non-directed C-H activation could potentially enable further useful reactions, because it can reach more distant sites and be applied to substrates that do not contain appropriate directing groups; however, its development has faced substantial challenges associated with the lack of sufficiently active palladium catalysts. Currently used palladium catalysts are reactive only with electron-rich arenes, unless an excess of arene is used, which limits synthetic applications. Here we report a 2-pyridone ligand that binds to palladium and accelerates non-directed C-H functionalization with arene as the limiting reagent. This protocol is compatible with a broad range of aromatic substrates and we demonstrate direct functionalization of advanced synthetic intermediates, drug molecules and natural products that cannot be used in excessive quantities. We also developed C-H olefination and carboxylation protocols, demonstrating the applicability of our methodology to other transformations. The site selectivity in these transformations is governed by a combination of steric and electronic effects, with the pyridone ligand enhancing the influence of sterics on the selectivity, thus providing complementary selectivity to directed C-H functionalization.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Functional group, Benzene, Demonstration, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Protocol, Steric effects, Director


A highly para-selective aromatic C-H borylation has been accomplished. By a new iridium catalyst bearing a bulky diphosphine ligand, Xyl-MeO-BIPHEP, the C-H borylation of monosubstituted benzenes can be affected with para-selectivity up to 91%. This catalytic system is quite different from the usual iridium catalysts that cannot distinguish meta- and para-C-H bonds of monosubstituted benzene derivatives, resulting in the preferred formation of meta-products. The para-selectivity increases with increasing bulkiness of the substituent on the arene, indicating that the regioselectivity of the present reaction is primarily controlled by steric repulsion between substrate and catalyst. Caramiphen, an anticholinergic drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, was converted into five derivatives via our para-selective borylation. The present [Ir(cod)OH]2/Xyl-MeO-BIPHEP catalyst represents a unique, sterically controlled, para-selective, aromatic C-H borylation system that should find use in streamlined, predictable chemical synthesis and in the rapid discovery and optimization of pharmaceuticals and materials.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Chemical reaction, Catalysis, Benzene, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Steric effects, Physical organic chemistry


CH3 NH3 PbBr3 perovskite nanocrystals (PNCs) of different sizes (ca. 2.5-100 nm) with high photoluminescence (PL) quantum yield (QY; ca. 15-55 %) and product yield have been synthesized using the branched molecules, APTES and NH2 -POSS, as capping ligands. These ligands are sterically hindered, resulting in a uniform size of PNCs. The different capping effects resulting from branched versus straight-chain capping ligands were compared and a possible mechanism proposed to explain the dissolution-precipitation process, which affects the growth and aggregation of PNCs, and thereby their overall stability. Unlike conventional PNCs capped with straight-chain ligands, APTES-capped PNCs show high stability in protic solvents as a result of the strong steric hindrance and propensity for hydrolysis of APTES, which prevent such molecules from reaching and reacting with the core of PNCs.

Concepts: Steric effects