Issue 23, 2019

H-Bond donor parameters for cations


UV/Vis absorption and NMR spectroscopy titrations have been used to investigate the formation of complexes between cations and neutral H-bond acceptors in organic solvents. Complexes formed by two different H-bond acceptors with fifteen different cations were studied in acetone and in acetonitrile. The effects of water and ion pairing with the counter-anion were found to be negligible in the two polar solvents employed for this study. The data were used to determine self-consistent H-bond donor parameters (α) for a series of organic and inorganic cations; guanidinium, primary, tertiary and quaternary ammonium, imidazolium, methylpyridinium, lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and caesium. The results demonstrate the transferability of α parameters for cations between different solvents and different H-bond acceptor partners, allowing reliable prediction of cation recognition properties in different environments. Lithium and protonated nitrogen cations form the most stable complexes, but the α parameter is only 5.0, which is similar to the neutral H-bond donor 3-trifluoromethyl,4-nitrophenol (α = 5.1). Quaternary ammonium is the weakest H-bond donor investigated with an α value of 2.7, which is comparable to an alcohol. The α parameters for alkali metal cations decrease down the group from 5.0 (Li+) to 3.5 (Cs+).

Graphical abstract: H-Bond donor parameters for cations

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
11 Feb 2019
01 May 2019
First published
16 May 2019
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2019,10, 5943-5951

H-Bond donor parameters for cations

S. J. Pike, E. Lavagnini, L. M. Varley, J. L. Cook and C. A. Hunter, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 5943 DOI: 10.1039/C9SC00721K

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