Synthesis of the silaisocyanoacetylene molecule

J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Aug 22;134(33):13896-901. doi: 10.1021/ja305569k. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


The hitherto elusive silaisocyanoacetylene molecule (HCCNSi)-a member of the silaisocyanide family-has been synthesized for the first time through the reaction of the silicon nitride radical (SiN) with acetylene (C(2)H(2)) in the gas phase under single collision conditions. Compared to the isoelectronic reaction of the cyano radical (CN) with acetylene, the replacement of the carbon atom in the cyano group by an isovalent silicon atom has a pronounced effect on the reactivity. Whereas the silicon nitride radical was found to pass an entrance barrier and adds with the nitrogen atom to the acetylene molecule, the cyano radical adds barrierlessly with the carbon atom forming the HCCH(NSi) and HCCH(CN) intermediates, respectively. These structures undergo hydrogen loss to form the linear silaisocyanoacetylene (HCCNSi) and cyanoacetylene molecules (HCCCN), respectively. Therefore, the isovalency of the silicon atom was found to bear little resemblance with the carbon atom having a dramatic effect not only on the reactivity, but also on the reaction mechanism, thermochemistry, and chemical bonding of the isoelectronic silaisocyanoacetylene and cyanoacetylene products, effectively reversing the thermodynamical stability of the nitrile versus isonitrile and silanitrile versus isosilanitrile isomer pairs.