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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Nov 6;112(44):13906-15. doi: 10.1021/jp806035w. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Solute-solvent complex switching dynamics of chloroform between acetone and dimethylsulfoxide-two-dimensional IR chemical exchange spectroscopy.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Hydrogen bonds formed between C-H and various hydrogen bond acceptors play important roles in the structure of proteins and organic crystals, and the mechanisms of C-H bond cleavage reactions. Chloroform, a C-H hydrogen bond donor, can form weak hydrogen-bonded complexes with acetone and with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). When chloroform is dissolved in a mixed solvent consisting of acetone and DMSO, both types of hydrogen-bonded complexes exist. The two complexes, chloroform-acetone and chloroform-DMSO, are in equilibrium, and they rapidly interconvert by chloroform exchanging hydrogen bond acceptors. This fast hydrogen bond acceptor substitution reaction is probed using ultrafast two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) vibrational echo chemical exchange spectroscopy. Deuterated chloroform is used in the experiments, and the 2D-IR spectrum of the C-D stretching mode is measured. The chemical exchange of the chloroform hydrogen bonding partners is tracked by observing the time-dependent growth of off-diagonal peaks in the 2D-IR spectra. The measured substitution rate is 1/30 ps for an acetone molecule to replace a DMSO molecule in a chloroform-DMSO complex and 1/45 ps for a DMSO molecule to replace an acetone molecule in a chloroform-acetone complex. Free chloroform exists in the mixed solvent, and it acts as a reactive intermediate in the substitution reaction, analogous to a SN1 type reaction. From the measured rates and the equilibrium concentrations of acetone and DMSO, the dissociation rates for the chloroform-DMSO and chloroform-acetone complexes are found to be 1/24 ps and 1/5.5 ps, respectively. The difference between the measured rate for the complete substitution reaction and the rate for complex dissociation corresponds to the diffusion limited rate. The estimated diffusion limited rate agrees well with the result from a Smoluchowski treatment of diffusive reactions.

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