Cyclohexane isomerization. Unimolecular dynamics of the twist-boat intermediate

William L. Hase, Khatuna Kakhiani, Upakarasamy Lourderaj, Wenfang Hu, David Birney

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Direct dynamics simulations were performed at the HF/6-31G level of theory to investigate the intramolecular and unimolecuar dynamics of the twist-boat (TB) intermediate on the cyclohexane potential energy surface (PES). Additional calculations were performed at the MP2/aug-cc-pVDZ level of theory to further characterize the PES's stationary points. The trajectories were initiated at the C1 and C2 half-chair transition states (TSs) connecting a chair conformer with a TB intermediate, via an intrinsic reaction coordinate (IRC). Energy was added in accord with a microcanonical ensemble at the average energy for experiments at 263 K. Important nontransition state theory (TST), non-IRC, and non-RRKM dynamics were observed in the simulations. Trajectories initially directed toward the chair conformer had a high probability of recrossing the TS, with approximately 30% forming a TB intermediate instead of accessing the potential energy well for the conformer. The TB intermediate initially formed was not necessarily the one connected to the TS via the IRC. Of the trajectories initiated at the C2 half-chair TS and initially directed toward the chair conformer, 35% formed a TB intermediate instead of the chair conformer. Also, of the trajectories forming a TB intermediate, only 16% formed the TB intermediate connected with the C2 TS via the IRC. Up to eight consecutive TB f TB isomerizations were followed, and non-RRKM behavior was observed in their dynamics. A TB can isomerize to two different TBs, one by a clockwise rotation of C-C-C-C dihedral angles and the other by a counterclockwise rotation. In contrast to RRKM theory, which predicts equivalent probabilities for these rotations, the trajectory dynamics show they are not equivalent and depend on whether the C1 or C2 half-chair TS is initially excited. Non-RRKM dynamics is also observed in the isomerization of the TB intermediates to the chair conformers. RRKM theory assumes equivalent probabilities for isomerizing to the two chair conformers. In contrast, for the first and following TB intermediate formed, there is a preference to isomerize to the chair conformer connected to the TS at which the trajectories were initiated. For the first TB intermediate formed, approximately 30% of the isomerization is to a chair conformer, but this fraction decreases for the later formed TB intermediates and becomes ∼10% for the eighth consecutive TB intermediate formed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4570-4580
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 23 2009


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