Controlling the conformation of arylamides: computational studies of intramolecular hydrogen bonds between amides and ethers or thioethers

Chemistry. 2004 Oct 11;10(20):5008-16. doi: 10.1002/chem.200400176.


The role of an ortho-alkylthioether group in controlling the conformation around the ring-N bonds of meta-connected arylamide oligomers is studied. Density functional theory (DFT) geometries of model compounds, including acetanilide, an ether acetanilide, and a thioether acetanilide, and their corresponding diamides, show that for either monoamide or diamide the alkyl side chain of the thioether should be perpendicular to the aryl plane, whereas for the ether monoamide, the alkyl side chain is in the aryl plane. DFT ring-N torsional potentials and constrained geometries of the model compounds demonstrate that carbonyl-S repulsion leads to a high torsional barrier and that intramolecular N-H...S and C-H...O hydrogen bonds and ring-amide conjugation lead to N-H having a preferred orientation in the benzene plane pointing towards S. The N-H bond lengthens and the ortho-ring C-H bond shortens in a regular pattern in the approach to the preferred orientation. Calculated IR frequencies for the N-H stretch show a clear red shift between model compounds without and with the thioether side chain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amides / chemistry*
  • Computers
  • Ethers / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Sulfides / chemistry*
  • Thioacetamide / analogs & derivatives
  • Thioacetamide / chemistry
  • Vibration


  • Amides
  • Ethers
  • N-methylthioacetamide
  • Sulfides
  • Thioacetamide