Understanding benzyl alcohol aggregation by chiral modification: the pairing step†
A combination of linear infrared and Raman spectroscopy in supersonic slit jet expansions is used to clarify the conformational preferences in the dimer of the transiently chiral benzyl alcohol (phenylmethanol) under vacuum isolation. By experimentally exploring close analogies with the permanently chiral 1-phenylethanol, which is conformationally locked in the jet through intramolecular chirality induction, and by computational analysis of their conformational energy landscapes, several conclusions are drawn. The lowest energy dimer is confirmed to be cooperatively OH⋯OH⋯π-bonded and shown to be homochiral. Its heterochiral counterpart is slightly higher in energy and can be spectrally assigned as a minor constituent. A metastable heterochiral OH⋯π/OH⋯π structure with weakly coupled hydrogen bonds is efficiently trapped behind a Ci symmetry-enhanced barrier and can be assigned by IR/Raman mutual exclusion. Its homochiral counterpart is kinetically less stable but might be addressed by rotational spectroscopy. Ratings of standard density functionals with a standard basis set in terms of reproducing these experimental chirality synchronization benchmarks are presented.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bunsentagung 2020: Understanding Dispersion Interactions in Molecular Chemistry