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Experimental and theoretical investigation of intramolecular cooperativity in cyclic benzene trimer motif

Kumar, Chakka Kiran, Deval Sathiyashivan, Shankar, Masram, Dhanraj T., Jose, K. V. Jovan, Sathiyendiran, Malaichamy
RSC advances 2019 v.9 no.2 pp. 753-760
benzene, isomers, moieties, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, spectral analysis, topography
A series of new symmetrical tripodal molecules 1a–4b with a central benzene scaffold substituted with methyl/ethyl groups and three benzimidazolyl units having a bithiophene/biphenyl/5-alkylthiophene motif at the 2-position via a –CH₂– unit were synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis, HR-MS, and NMR spectroscopy. NMR spectral data reveal that all molecules adopt a cyclic benzene trimer (CBT) using three benzimidazolyl units. Intramolecular cooperative edge-to-face C–H⋯π interactions stabilize the CBT motif in solution and are strong in ethyl substituted molecules (1b–4b) compared to methyl substituted (1a–4a) ones. However, the strength of the CBT unit in the tripodal molecule is independent of the length of the substituent at the 2-position of the benzimidazolyl unit. The relative ¹H NMR chemical shift calculated at the MPW1PW91/6-311+G(d,p) level of theory corroborates the experimental values, and the calculations predict the distribution of the structures into syn isomers. The relative change in the NMR chemical shift is justified by the relative change in the magnitude of the (3,+3) critical point (CP) in the molecular electrostatic potential (MESP) topography. Also, a linear correlation of the intramolecular C–H⋯π interactions evaluated at M062X/6-311+G(d,p) with the relative NMR chemical shift suggest the latter as a measure of intramolecular cooperativity.