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J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Mar 17;126(10):3132-8.

Aromaticity of four-membered-ring 6pi-electron systems: N2S2 and Li2C4H4.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley, and Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720-1460, USA.


N(2)S(2) is a four-membered-ring system with 6pi electrons. While earlier proposals considered N(2)S(2) to be aromatic, recent electronic structure calculations claimed that N(2)S(2) is a singlet diradical. Our careful reexamination does not support this assertion. N(2)S(2) is closed shell and aromatic since it satisfies all three generally accepted criteria for aromaticity: energetic (stability), structural (planarity with equal bond lengths), and magnetic (negative nucleus-independent chemical shift due to the pi electrons). These characteristics as well as the electronic structure of N(2)S(2) are compared with those for an isoelectronic pi system, Li(2)C(4)H(4), motivated by theoretical and recent experimental investigations that confirmed its aromaticity. However, N(2)S(2) and Li(2)C(4)H(4) are both essentially 2pi-electron aromatic systems with a formal N-S (C-C) bond order of 1.25 even though they both have 6pi electrons. This is because four of the six pi electrons occupy the nonbonding pi HOMOs and only two electrons participate effectively in the aromatic stabilization. However, wave function analysis shows relatively large LUMO occupation numbers; this antibonding effect can be said to reduce the aromatic character by approximately 7% and 4% for N(2)S(2) and Li(2)C(4)H(4), respectively.


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