This paper presents a discussion of the interaction energies, conformations, vibrational absorption (VA, harmonic and anharmonic) and vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) spectra for conformers of monomeric chiral D(−)-lactic acid and their complexes with water at the DFT(B3LYP)/aug-cc-pVDZ and DFT(B3LYP)/aug-cc-pVTZ levels. A detailed analysis has been performed principally for the two most stable complexes with water, differing by lactic acid conformation. The VCD spectra were found to be sensitive to conformational changes of both free and complexed molecules, and to be especially useful for discriminating between different chiral forms of intermolecular hydrogen bonding complexes. In particular, we show that the VCD modes of an achiral water molecule after complex formation acquire significant rotational strengths whose signs change in line with the geometry of the complex. Using the theoretical prediction, we demonstrate that the VCD technique can be used as a powerful tool for structural investigation of intermolecular interactions of chiral molecules and can yield information complementary to data obtained through other molecular spectroscopy methods.
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