Accuracy of quantum chemistry structures of chiral tag complexes and the assignment of absolute configuration†
The absolute configuration of a molecule can be established by analysis of molecular rotational spectra of the analyte complexed with a small chiral molecule of known configuration. This approach of converting the analyte enantiomers, with identical rotational spectra, into diastereomers that can be distinguished spectroscopically is analogous to chiral derivatization in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. For the rotational chiral tag method, the derivatization uses noncovalent interactions to install the new chiral center and avoids complications due to possible racemization of the analyte when covalent chemistry is used. The practical success of this method rests on the ability to attribute assigned rotational spectra to specific geometries of the diastereomeric homochiral and heterochiral tag complexes formed in the pulsed jet expansion that is used to introduce samples into the microwave spectrometer. The assignment of a molecular structure to an experimental rotational spectrum uses quantum chemistry equilibrium geometries to provide theoretical estimates of the spectrum parameters that characterize the rotational spectrum. This work reports the results of a high-sensitivity rotational spectroscopy study of the complexes formed between (3)-butyn-2-ol and verbenone. The rotational spectra of four homochiral and four heterochiral complexes are assigned. In addition, the 14 distinct, singly-substituted 13C isotopomer spectra of five of these species are assigned in natural abundance. Analysis of these spectra provides direct structural characterization of the complexes through determination of the carbon atom position coordinates. This data set is used to benchmark quantum chemistry calculations of candidate equilibrium geometries of the chiral tag complexes. The quantum chemistry calculations are limited to methods commonly used in the field of rotational spectroscopy. It is shown that the accuracy of the structures from quantum chemistry provides a high-confidence assignment of cluster geometries to the observed spectra. As a result, a high-confidence determination of the analyte (verbenone) absolute configuration is achieved.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Benchmark Experiments for Numerical Quantum Chemistry and 2022 PCCP HOT Articles