Hyperconjugative π → σ* CF Interactions Stabilize the Enol Form of Perfluorinated Cyclic Keto-Enol Systems

J Org Chem. 2019 May 17;84(10):6432-6436. doi: 10.1021/acs.joc.9b00825. Epub 2019 May 2.


Lindner and Lemal showed that perfluorination of keto-enol systems significantly shifts the equilibrium toward the enol tautomer. Quantum mechanical calculations now reveal that the shift in equilibrium is the result of the stabilization of the enol tautomer by hyperconjugative π → σ*CF interactions and the destabilization of the keto tautomer by the electron withdrawal induced by the neighboring fluorine atoms. The preference for the enol tautomer further increases in smaller perfluorinated cyclic keto-enol systems. This trend is in contrast to the nonfluorinated compounds, where the enol is strongly disfavored in the smaller rings. The fluoro effect overrides the effect of the ring size that controls the equilibria in nonfluorinated compounds. The increased overlap of the enol π bond with the σ*CF orbitals of the allylic C-F bonds results in the increased preference for the enol tautomer in smaller perfluorinated keto-enol systems. We show here why the effect is much greater than in 3,3-difluorocyclooctyne.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alkenes / chemistry*
  • Halogenation*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation


  • Alkenes