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Pure Appl. Chem., 2008, Vol. 80, No. 3, pp. 547-553

Ultralong C-C bonds in hexaphenylethane derivatives

Takanori Suzuki1, Takashi Takeda1, Hidetoshi Kawai2,1 and Kenshu Fujiwara1

1 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
2 PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Honcho, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

Abstract: The longer C-C bond than the standard (1.54 Å) is so weakened that it is cleaved easily, as found in the parent hexaphenylethane (HPE). However, the compounds with an ultralong C-C bond (1.75 Å) can be isolated as stable solids when the bond-dissociated species does not undergo any reactions other than bond reformation. This is the central point in designing the highly strained HPEs, which were obtained by two-electron reduction of the corresponding dications. Steric repulsion of "front strain" is the major factor to expand the central C-C bond of HPEs. During the detailed examination of the ultralong C-C bond, the authors discovered the intriguing phenomenon of "expandability": the C-C bond length can be altered over a wide range by applying only a small amount of energy (1 kcal mol-1) supplied by crystal packing force. This observation indicates that the much longer C-C bond than the shortest nonbonded contact (1.80 Å) will be realized under the rational molecular design concept.