Predicting the catalytic activity of azolium-based halogen bond donors: an experimentally-verified theoretical study†
This report demonstrates the successful application of electrostatic surface potential distribution analysis for evaluating the relative catalytic activity of a series of azolium-based halogen bond donors. A strong correlation (R2 > 0.97) was observed between the positive electrostatic potential of the σ-hole on the halogen atom and the Gibbs free energy of activation of the model reactions (i.e., halogen abstraction and carbonyl activation). The predictive ability of the applied approach was confirmed experimentally. It was also determined that the catalytic activity of azolium-based halogen bond donors was generally governed by the structure of the azolium cycle, whereas the substituents on the heterocycle had a limited impact on the activity. Ultimately, this study highlighted four of the most promising azolium halogen bond donors, which are expected to exhibit high catalytic activity.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Mechanistic, computational & physical organic chemistry in OBC