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Phenylboronic acids in crystal engineering: Utility of the energetically unfavorable syn,syn-conformation in co-crystal design

Varughese, Sunil and Sinha, Shashi Bhushan and Desiraju, Gautam R (2011) Phenylboronic acids in crystal engineering: Utility of the energetically unfavorable syn,syn-conformation in co-crystal design. In: Science China-Chemistry, 54 (12). pp. 1909-1919.

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Phenylboronic acids can exist, in principle, in three different conformers (syn,syn; syn,anti and anti,anti) with distinct energy profiles. In their native state, these compounds prefer the energetically favored syn, anti-conformation. In molecular complexes, however, the functionality exhibits conformational diversity. In this paper we report a series of co-crystals, with N-donor compounds, prepared by a design strategy involving the synthons based on the syn, syn-conformation of the boronic acid functionality. For this purpose, we employed compounds with the 1,2-diazo fragment (alprazolam, 1H-tetrazole, acetazolamide and benzotriazole), 1,10-phenanthroline and 2,2'-bipyridine for the co-crystallization experiments. However, our study shows that the mere presence of the 1,2-diazo fragment in the coformer does not guarantee the successful formation of co-crystals with a syn, syn-conformation of the boronic acid. [GRAPHICS] The -B(OH)(2) fragment makes unsymmetrical O-H center dot center dot center dot N heterosynthons with alprazolam (ALP) and 1,10-phenanthroline (PHEN). In the co-crystals of phenylboronic acids with 1H-tetrazole (TETR) and 2,2'-bipyridine (BPY), the symmetrical boronic acid dimer is the major synthon. In the BPY complex, boronic acid forms linear chains and the pyridine compound interacts with the lateral OH of boronic acid dimers that acts as a connector, thus forming a ladder structure. In the TETR complex, each heterocycle interacts with three boronic acids. While two boronic acids interact using the phenolic group, the third molecule generates O-H center dot center dot center dot N hydrogen bonds using the extra OH group, of -B(OH)(2) fragment, left after the dimer formation. Thus, although molecules were selected retrosynthetically with the 1,2-diazo fragment or with nearby hetero-atoms to induce co-crystal formation using the syn,syn-orientation of the -B(OH)(2) functionality, co-crystal formation is in fact selective and is probably driven by energy factors. Acetazolamide (ACET) contains self-complementary functional groups and hence creates stable homosynthons. Phenylboronic acids being weak competitors fail to perturb the homosynthons and hence the components crystallize separately. Therefore, besides the availability of possible hydrogen bond acceptors in the required position and orientation, the ability of the phenyl-boronic acid to perturb the existing interactions is also a prerequisite to form co-crystals. This is illustrated in the table below. In the case of ALP, PHEN and BPY, the native structures are stabilized by weak interactions and may be influenced by the boronic acid fragment. Thus phenylboronic acids can attain co-crystals with those compounds, wherein the cyclic O-H center dot center dot center dot N hydrogen bonds are stronger than the individual homo-interactions. This can lower the lattice energy of the molecular complex as compared with the individual crystals. [GRAPHICS] Phenylboronic acids show some selectivity in the formation of co-crystals with N-heterocycles. The differences in solubility of the components fall short to provide a possible reason for the selective formation of co-crystals only with certain compounds. These compounds, being weak acids, do not follow the Delta pK(a) analysis and hence fail to provide any conclusive observation. Theoretical results show that of the three conformers possible, the syn,anti conformer is the most stable. The relative stabilities of the three conformers syn,anti,syn,syn and anti,anti are 0.0, 2.18 and 3.14 kcal/mol, respectively. The theoretical calculations corroborate the fact that only energetically favorable synthons can induce the formation of heterosynthons, as in ALP and PHEN complexes. From a theoretical and structural analysis it is seen that phenylboronic acids will form interactions with those molecules wherein the heterocyclic and acidic fragments can interrupt the homosynthons. However, the energy profile is shallow and can be perturbed easily by the presence of competing functional groups (such as OH and COOH) in the vicinity. [GRAPHICS] .

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Science China-Chemistry
Publisher: Science Press
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Science Press.
Keywords: crystal engineering;phenylboronic acid;supramolecular synthon;conformational flexibility
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2012 06:43
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2012 06:43
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/43157

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