On the molecular basis of H2O/DMSO eutectic mixtures by using phenol compounds as molecular sensors: a combined NMR and DFT study†
NMR and DFT studies of phenol compounds as molecular sensors were carried out to investigate H2O/DMSO eutectic mixtures at a molecular level. The experimental 1H NMR chemical shifts of the OH groups, δexp(OH), of phenol, paracoumaric acid, and vanillic acid show maximum deshielding and, thus, hydrogen bond interactions in the range of mole fractions 0.20 < χ(DMSO) < 0.33. In the mole fractions χ(DMSO) < 0.2, a progressive decrease in δexp(OH) was observed which demonstrates a decrease in hydrogen bond interactions at infinite dilution in H2O, despite the increase in the number of available hydrogen bond acceptor and donor sites. DFT calculated δcalc(OH) of minimum energy solvation clusters were shown to be in reasonable agreement with the pattern in experimental δexp(OH) data. The chemical shift deshielding and, thus, increased hydrogen bond interactions in the natural product + DMSO + nH2O (n = 2, 3) solvation clusters, relative to complexes in DMSO or H2O solutions, cannot be attributed to a single structural parameter of the cooperative interactions between H2O and DMSO molecules with the phenol OH groups of the natural products. The minimum energy conformers of phenol compounds + 2H2O + DMSO complexes are in excellent agreement with a recent low temperature neutron diffraction experiment of 3D2O + DMSO and demonstrate a general structural motif of solvation complexes. The combined use of 1H NMR and DFT studies with emphasis on δ(OH) of phenol compounds, as molecular sensors, can provide an effective method for the study of solute–solvent interactions at the atomic level.