Formation of the 2,3-Dimethyl-1-silacycloprop-2-enylidene Molecule via the Crossed Beam Reaction of the Silylidyne Radical (SiH; X(2)Π) with Dimethylacetylene (CH3CCCH3; X(1)A1g)

J Phys Chem A. 2016 Sep 22;120(37):7262-8. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpca.6b06995. Epub 2016 Sep 7.


We carried out crossed molecular beam experiments and electronic structure calculations to unravel the chemical dynamics of the reaction of the silylidyne(-d1) radical (SiH/SiD; X(2)Π) with dimethylacetylene (CH3CCCH3; X(1)A1g). The chemical dynamics were indirect and initiated by the barrierless addition of the silylidyne radical to both carbon atoms of dimethylacetylene forming a cyclic collision complex 2,3-dimethyl-1-silacyclopropenyl. This complex underwent unimolecular decomposition by atomic hydrogen loss from the silicon atom via a loose exit transition state to form the novel 2,3-dimethyl-1-silacycloprop-2-enylidene isomer in an overall exoergic reaction (experimentally: -29 ± 21 kJ mol(-1); computationally: -10 ± 8 kJ mol(-1)). An evaluation of the scattering dynamics of silylidyne with alkynes indicates that in each system, the silylidyne radical adds barrierlessly to one or to both carbon atoms of the acetylene moiety, yielding an acyclic or a cyclic collision complex, which can also be accessed via cyclization of the acyclic structures. The cyclic intermediate portrays the central decomposing complex, which fragments via hydrogen loss almost perpendicularly to the rotational plane of the decomposing complex exclusively from the silylidyne moiety via a loose exit transition state in overall weakly exoergic reaction leading to ((di)methyl-substituted) 1-silacycloprop-2-enylidenes (-1 to -13 kJ mol(-1) computationally; -12 ± 11 to -29 ± 21 kJ mol(-1) experimentally). Most strikingly, the reaction dynamics of the silylidyne radical with alkynes are very different from those of C1-C4 alkanes and C2-C4 alkenes, which do not react with the silylidyne radical at the collision energies under our crossed molecular beam apparatus, due to either excessive entrance barriers to reaction (alkanes) or overall highly endoergic reaction processes (alkenes). Nevertheless, molecules carrying carbon-carbon double bonds could react, if the carbon-carbon double bond is either consecutive like in allene (H2CCCH2) or in conjugation with another carbon-carbon double bond (conjugated dienes) as found, for instance, in 1,3-butadiene (H2CCHCHCH2).