Effect of substituents on the preferred modes of one-electron reductive cleavage of N-Cl and N-Br bonds

Robert J. O'Reilly, Amir Karton, Leo Radom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we investigate the effect of substituents in determining the modes of one-electron reductive cleavage of X-NRR′ (X = Cl and Br) molecules. We achieve this through comparison of the calculated gas-phase electron affinities (EAs) and aqueous-phase one-electron reduction potentials (E 's) for a range of nitrogen-centered radicals (NRR′) with the corresponding EA and E values for Cl and Br. The gas-phase EAs have been obtained using the benchmark-quality W1w thermochemical protocol, whereas E values have been obtained by additionally applying free energy of solvation corrections, obtained using the conductor-like polarizable continuum (CPCM) model. We find that the N-halogenated derivatives of amines and amides should generally cleave in such a way as to afford NRR′ and X-. For the N-halogenated imides, on the other hand, the N-brominated derivatives are predicted to produce Br in solution, whereas the N-chlorinated derivatives again would give Cl-. Importantly, we predict that N-bromouracil is likely to afford Br. This may have important implications in terms of inflammatory-related diseases, because Br may damage biomolecules such as proteins and DNA. To assist in the determination of the gas-phase EAs of larger NRR′ radicals, not amenable to investigation using W1w, we have evaluated the performance of a wide range of lower-cost theoretical methods. Of the standard density functional theory (DFT) procedures, M06-2X, τ-HCTHh, and B3-LYP show good performance, with mean absolute deviations (MADs) from W1w of 4.8-6.8 kJ mol-1, whereas ROB2-PLYP and B2-PLYP emerge as the best of the double-hybrid DFTs (DHDFTs), with MADs of 2.5 and 3.0 kJ mol-1, respectively. Of the Gn-type procedures, G3X and G4 show very good performance (MADs = 2.4 and 2.6 kJ mol-1, respectively). The G4(MP2)-6X+ procedure performs comparably, with an MAD of 2.7 kJ mol-1, with the added advantage of significantly reduced computational expense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-472
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 17 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of substituents on the preferred modes of one-electron reductive cleavage of N-Cl and N-Br bonds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this