Synthesis of compounds with very large specific rotations
Abstract: A search in a research database for “large specific rotation” or anything similar produces few articles. Large specific rotation is not commonly used as an indicator for extraordinary chiroptical response. Alternatively, anisotropy factors obtained from circular dichroism spectra and calculated rotational strengths are more widely used to gauge chiroptical response. To another point, a search for “large chiroptical response” gives few articles that discuss pure organic compounds, and the result list is populated by organometallic clusters, nanostructures, and thin films. A search of the Reaxys database for organic compounds with [α]Ds larger than 1000 revealed that there are about 600, and there are only two that have [α]Ds larger than 10,000.30 We wondered if we could design a compound that would break the record in specific rotation and possess extraordinary chiroptical properties. Guided by time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) calculations, various chiral, polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) were chosen as candidates to display extraordinary chiroptical properties, such as high optical rotation, strong circular dichroism, or a high degree of circularly polarized luminescence (CPL). PACs comprise a large class of organic compounds. In addition to synthetic PACs, numerous naturally occurring PACs exist in coal tar and as decomposition products of organic material. Since their pi electrons are delocalized, PACs have interesting and possibly useful electronic properties and a variety of applications. The PACs described in this dissertation, e.g., helical mesobenzanthrones, a cyclophane, are twisted pentacenes are chiral and have interesting optoelectronic properties. TD-DFT was primarily used to predict which compounds had the greatest potential to yield record-breaking specific rotations or other chiroptical properties, and ordinary DFT calculation were used to determine if these compounds had sufficiently high racemization barriers to be resolved at room temperature. With regard to specific rotation, the accuracy of TD-DFT calculations was examined by comparing experimental specific rotations to the calculated values.