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Title: Where does the electron go? The nature of ortho/para and meta group directing in electrophilic aromatic substitution

Electrophilic aromatic substitution as one of the most fundamental chemical processes is affected by atoms or groups already attached to the aromatic ring. The groups that promote substitution at the ortho/para or meta positions are, respectively, called ortho/para and meta directing groups, which are often characterized by their capability to donate electrons to or withdraw electrons from the ring. Though resonance and inductive effects have been employed in textbooks to explain this phenomenon, no satisfactory quantitative interpretation is available in the literature. Here, based on the theoretical framework we recently established in density functional reactivity theory (DFRT), where electrophilicity and nucleophilicity are simultaneously quantified by the Hirshfeld charge, the nature of ortho/para and meta group directing is systematically investigated for a total of 85 systems. We find that regioselectivity of electrophilic attacks is determined by the Hirshfeld charge distribution on the aromatic ring. Ortho/para directing groups have most negative charges on the ortho/para positions, while meta directing groups often possess the largest negative charge on the meta position. Our results do not support that ortho/para directing groups are electron donors and meta directing groups are electron acceptors. Most neutral species we studied here are electron withdrawal in nature. Anionic systemsmore » are always electron donors. There are also electron donors serving as meta directing groups. We predicted ortho/para and meta group directing behaviors for a list of groups whose regioselectivity is previously unknown. In addition, strong linear correlations between the Hirshfeld charge and the highest occupied molecular orbital have been observed, providing the first link between the frontier molecular orbital theory and DFRT.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Research Computing Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3420 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22415369
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 141; Journal Issue: 19; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; BINDING ENERGY; CHARGE DISTRIBUTION; DENSITY FUNCTIONAL METHOD; ELECTRONS; MOLECULAR ORBITAL METHOD; RESONANCE