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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stabilization and Structure of the cis Tautomer of a Free-Base Porphyrin.

  • Author(s): Thomas, Kolle E
  • McCormick, Laura J
  • Vazquez-Lima, Hugo
  • Ghosh, Abhik
  • et al.

Single-crystal X-ray analysis of the β-heptakis(trifluoromethyl)-meso-tetrakis(p-fluorophenyl)porphyrin, H2 [(CF3 )7 TpFPP], has revealed the first example of a stable cis tautomer of a free-base porphyrin, the long-postulated intermediate of porphyrin tautomerism. The stability of the unique molecule appears to reflect a dual origin: a strongly saddled porphyrin skeleton, which alleviates electrostatic repulsion between the two NH protons, and two polarization-enhanced, transannular N-H⋅⋅⋅O-H⋅⋅⋅N hydrogen bond chains, each involving a molecule of water. DFT calculations suggest that the observed tautomer has a lower energy than the alternative, doubly hydrated trans tautomer by some 8.3 kcal mol-1 . A fascinating prospect thus exists that H2 [(CF3 )7 TpFPP]⋅2 H2 O and cognate structures may act as supramolecular synthons, which, given their chirality, may even be amenable to resolution into optically pure enantiomers.

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