High-level electronic structure calculations have been used to study the factors contributing to the barriers to degenerate hydrogen-atom transfer (HAT) reactions. Understanding of these reactions is a prerequisite to the development of any more general theory of HAT reactions, and yet, the existing models for such reactions perform quite poorly when applied to even simple self-exchanges. The reasons behind these failures are elucidated in the present work. They include a near cancellation of bond-strength effects between reactant and transition state, as well as a strong dependence of the geometry of the transition state on the nature of the heavy atoms.
Aromatic Möbius [4n]annulenes with 4n pi electrons, originally conceived by Heilbronner, are characterized computationally. These (CH)(12), (CH)(16), and (CH)(20) minima have nearly equal C-C bond lengths, small twist angles around the rings, and magnetic properties (NICS, nucleus-independent chemical shifts–see above at various positions in annulene–and magnetic susceptibility exaltations) indicating significantly diatropic ring currents. The Möbius forms are not the most stable isomers but may contribute significantly to the chemistry of these annulenes. [structure: see text]