The shape of ibuprofen in the gas phase†
Ibuprofen's pain-relieving properties arise from its ability to physically block the active site of an enzyme, thus making its structural and conformational properties highly interesting. We here present a conformer-selective high-resolution broadband rotational spectroscopy study of gas-phase ibuprofen. The interpretation of the spectroscopic results is supported by quantum-chemical calculations. We identify four low-energy conformers that differ in the structural arrangement of the isobutyl moiety with respect to the remainder of the molecule. While the isobutyl group shows high structural flexibility – resulting in distinct low-energy conformers – the propanoic acid group favors a stable arrangement.