2-Methoxyphenol (2MP) solutes form weak complexes with toluene solvent molecules. The complexes are unusual in that the 2MP hydroxyl has an intramolecular hydrogen bond and simultaneously forms an intermolecular hydrogen bond with toluene and other aromatic solvents. In the equilibrated solute-solvent solution, there exists approximately the same concentration of 2MP-toluene complex and free 2MP. The very fast formation and dissociation (chemical exchange) of this type of three-centered hydrogen bond complex were observed in real time under thermal equilibrium conditions with two-dimensional (2D) infrared vibrational echo spectroscopy. Chemical exchange is manifested in the 2D spectrum by the growth of off-diagonal peaks. Both the formation and dissociation can be characterized in terms of the dissociation time constant, which was determined to be 3 ps for the 2MP-toluene complex. The intra-intermolecular hydrogen bond formation is influenced by subtle details of the molecular structure. Although 2MP forms a complex with toluene, it is demonstrated that 2-ethoxyphenol (2EP) does not form complexes to any significant extent. Density functional calculations at the B3LYP/6-31 +G(d,p) level suggest that steric effects caused by the extra methyl group in 2EP are responsible for the difference.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry