The elusive benzocyclobutenylidene: A combined computational and experimental attempt
AuthorNicolaïdes, Andrew N.
Stracener, L. L.
Hodges, J. A.
McMahon, R. J.
SourceJournal of the American Chemical Society
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Ab initio and density functional theory calculations predict that benzocyclobutenylidene (1) has a singlet ground state in contrast to the parent phenylcarbene and many other simply substituted arylcarbenes. Calculations also predict that 1 should lie in a relatively deep potential well, while its triplet state is 14.5 kcal mol-1 higher in energy. However, attempts to observe 1 directly by photolysis of two different nitrogenous precursors were not successful. Irradiation of diazobenzocyclobutene (7) (λ > 534 nm or λ > 300 nm) or azibenzocyclobutene (10) (λ > 328 nm) in Ar matrixes at 10 K leads to the formation of the strained cycloalkyne 7-methylenecyclohepta-3,5-dien-1-yne (3). 13C-Labeled 3 was also prepared in a similar manner. There is very good agreement between experimental IR spectra and computationally derived harmonic vibrational frequencies for 3 and [13C]-3 and excellent agreement between observed and calculated isotopic shifts. Prolonged short-wavelength irradiation converts 3 into benzocyclobutadiene (5). Phenylacetylene (6) and benzocyclobutadiene dimer (11) were identified as products arising from flash vacuum pyrolysis of diazirine 10 at 500 °C.