Transition between [R]- and [S]-stereoisomers without bond breaking†
The fifty-year old proposal of a nondissociative racemization reaction of a tetracoordinated tetrahedral center from one enantiomer to another via a planar transition state by Hoffmann and coworkers has been explored by many research groups over the past five decades. A number of stable molecules with planar tetracoordinated and higher-coordinated centers have been designed and experimentally realized; however, there has not been a single example of a molecular system that can possibly undergo such racemization. Here we show examples of molecular species that undergo inversion of stereochemistry around tetrahedral centers (Si, Al− and P+) either via a planar transition state or an intermediate state using quantum mechanical, ab initio quasi-classical dynamics calculations, and Born–Oppenheimer molecular dynamics (BOMD) simulations. This work is expected to provide potential leads for future studies on this fundamental phenomenon in chemistry.