Bridging the gap between the theoretical understanding of propellanes and their real-life applications
Propellanes are polycyclic hydrocarbons in which three rings of carbon atoms skeleton share a common carbon-carbon covalent bond. They are the precursors to bicyclo[1.1.1]pentanes which are valuable cage molecules in pharmaceutical and materials research. The smaller-ring propellanes display reactivity towards anions, radicals and cations, based on their ability to delocalise electron density away from the electron-rich central C–C bond onto the peripheral carbon atom p orbitals both in the ground state and during reactions. The EU-funded NewPropChem project aims to test this model, characterise the change in structure and electronics during ring-opening processes and explore propellane reactivity applying novel catalytic concepts to activate the central C–C bond.