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Nature. 2003 Dec 18;426(6968):819-21.

Synthesis of a Möbius aromatic hydrocarbon.

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  • 1Institut für Organische Chemie, Universität Kiel, Otto-Hahn-Platz 4, 24098 Kiel, Germany.


The defining feature of aromatic hydrocarbon compounds is a cyclic molecular structure stabilized by the delocalization of pi electrons that, according to the Hückel rule, need to total 4n + 2 (n = 1,2, em leader ); cyclic compounds with 4n pi electrons are antiaromatic and unstable. But in 1964, Heilbronner predicted on purely theoretical grounds that cyclic molecules with the topology of a Möbius band--a ring constructed by joining the ends of a rectangular strip after having given one end half a twist--should be aromatic if they contain 4n, rather than 4n + 2, pi electrons. The prediction stimulated attempts to synthesize Möbius aromatic hydrocarbons, but twisted cyclic molecules are destabilized by large ring strains, with the twist also suppressing overlap of the p orbitals involved in electron delocalization and stabilization. In larger cyclic molecules, ring strain is less pronounced but the structures are very flexible and flip back to the less-strained Hückel topology. Although transition-state species, an unstable intermediate and a non-conjugated cyclic molecule, all with a Möbius topology, have been documented, a stable aromatic Möbius system has not yet been realized. Here we report that combining a 'normal' aromatic structure (with p orbitals orthogonal to the ring plane) and a 'belt-like' aromatic structure (with p orbitals within the ring plane) yields a Möbius compound stabilized by its extended pi system.

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