Lindblad S, Mehmeti K, Veiga AX, Nekoueishahraki B, Gräfenstein J, Erdélyi M
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140 (41) 13503-13513 [2018-10-17; online 2018-10-04]
Halogen bonding is the noncovalent interaction of halogen atoms in which they act as electron acceptors. Whereas three-center hydrogen bond complexes, [D···H···D] + where D is an electron donor, exist in solution as rapidly equilibrating asymmetric species, the analogous halogen bonds, [D···X···D]+, have been observed so far only to adopt static and symmetric geometries. Herein, we investigate whether halogen bond asymmetry, i.e., a [D-X···D]+ bond geometry, in which one of the D-X bonds is shorter and stronger, could be induced by modulation of electronic or steric factors. We have also attempted to convert a static three-center halogen bond complex into a mixture of rapidly exchanging asymmetric isomers, [D···X-D]+ ⇄ [D-X···D]+, corresponding to the preferred form of the analogous hydrogen bonded complexes. Using 15N NMR, IPE NMR, and DFT, we prove that a static, asymmetric geometry, [D-X···D]+, is obtained upon desymmetrization of the electron density of a complex. We demonstrate computationally that conversion into a dynamic mixture of asymmetric geometries, [D···X-D]+ ⇄ [D-X···D]+, is achievable upon increasing the donor-donor distance. However, due to the high energetic gain upon formation of the three-center-four-electron halogen bond, the assessed complex strongly prefers to form a dimer with two static and symmetric three-center halogen bonds over a dynamic and asymmetric halogen bonded form. Our observations indicate a vastly different preference in the secondary bonding of H+ and X+. Understanding the consequences of electronic and steric influences on the strength and geometry of the three-center halogen bond provides useful knowledge on chemical bonding and for the development of improved halonium transfer agents.