Hydrogen transfer vs proton transfer in 7-hydroxy-quinoline.(NH3)3: a CASSCF/CASPT2 study.

Research paper by Antonio A Fernández-Ramos, Emilio E Martínez-Núñez, Saulo A SA Vázquez, Miguel A MA Ríos, Carlos M CM Estévez, Manuela M Merchán, Luis L Serrano-Andrés

Indexed on: 15 Jun '07Published on: 15 Jun '07Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry A


Multiconfigurational CASSCF and CASPT2 calculations were performed to investigate the enol --> keto tautomerization in the lowest singlet excited state of the 7-hydroxyquinoline.(NH3)3 cluster. Two different reaction mechanisms were explored. The first one corresponds to that proposed previously by Tanner et al. (Science 2003, 302, 1736) on the basis of experimental observations and CASSCF optimizations under Cs-symmetry constraints. This mechanism comprises four consecutive steps and involves nonadiabatic transitions between the valence 1pipi* state and a pisigma* Rydberg-type state, resulting in hydrogen-atom transfer. Single-point CASPT2 calculations corroborate that for Cs-symmetry pathways hydrogen-atom transfer is clearly preferred over proton transfer. The second mechanism, predicted by CASSCF optimizations without constraints, implies proton transfer along a pathway on the 1pipi* surface in which one or more ammonia molecules depart significantly from the molecular plane defined by the hydroxyquinoline ring. The results suggest that both mechanisms may be competitive with proton transfer being somewhat favorable over hydrogen-atom transfer.