Molecular structure and internal rotation of CF₃ group of methyl trifluoroacetate: gas electron diffraction, microwave spectroscopy, and quantum chemical calculation studies

J Phys Chem A. 2015 Mar 5;119(9):1774-86. doi: 10.1021/jp508447b. Epub 2014 Dec 30.


The molecular structure of methyl trifluoroacetate (CF3COOCH3) has been determined by gas electron diffraction (GED), microwave spectroscopy (MW), and quantum chemical calculations (QC). QC study provides the optimized geometries and force constants of the molecule. They were used to estimate the structural model for GED study and to calculate the vibrational corrections for GED and MW data. In addition, potential energy curves for the internal rotations of CF3 and CH3 groups have been calculated for anti (dihedral angle of α(CCOC) is 180°) and syn (α(CCOC) = 0°) conformers of methyl trifluoroacetate. Both the GED and MW data revealed the existence of the anti conformer. Molecular constants determined by MW are A0 = 3613.4(3) MHz, B0 = 1521.146(8) MHz, C0 = 1332.264(9) MHz, ΔJ = 0.09(2) kHz, and ΔJK = 0.23(6) kHz. The GED data were well-reproduced by the analysis in which a large-amplitude motion of the CF3 group was taken into account. The barrier of the internal rotation of the CF3 group was determined to be V3 = 2.3(4) kJ mol(-1), where V3 is the potential coefficient of the assumed potential function, V(ϕ) = (V3/2)(1 - cos 3ϕ), and ϕ is a rotational angle for the CF3 group. The values of geometrical parameters (re structure) of the anti conformer of CF3COOCH3 are r((O═)C-O) = 1.326(6) Å, r(O-CH3) = 1.421(4) Å, r(C-H(in-plane)) = 1.083(14) Å, r(C-H(out-of-plane)) = 1.087(14) Å, r(C═O) = 1.190(7) Å, r(C-C) = 1.533(4) Å, r(C-F(in-plane)) = 1.319(4) Å, r(C-F(out-of-plane)) = 1.320(6) Å, ∠COC = 116.3(5)°, ∠OCH(in-plane) = 105.2° (fixed), ∠OCH(out-of-plane) = 110.0° (fixed), ∠O═CC = 123.7° (fixed), ∠O-CC = 111.2(5)°, ∠OCO = 125.2(5)°, ∠CCF = 110.1(3)°, and OCCF (out-of-plane dihedral angles) = ± 121.5(1)°. Numbers in parentheses are three times the standard deviations of the data fit.