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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2016, Article ID 4538696, 10 pages
Research Article

[3 + 2] versus [2 + 2] Addition: A Density Functional Theory Study on the Mechanistic Aspects of Transition Metal-Assisted Formation of 1,2-Dinitrosoalkanes

Theoretical and Computational Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Received 11 August 2016; Accepted 21 November 2016

Academic Editor: Maria F. Carvalho

Copyright © 2016 Ernest Opoku et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The pathways for the transition metal-assisted formation of 1,2-dinitrosoalkane complexes of cobalt and its congeners, have been studied using DFT/M06 with the basis set. The activation barriers for the one-step [3 + 2] addition pathway for the formation of 1,2-dinitrosoalkanes, proposed by Bergman and Becker, are generally low compared to the activation barriers for the [2 + 2] addition to form an intermediate, which is the first of the two-step pathway proposed by Rappé and Upton, which are very high. The barriers of the rearrangement of the Rappé intermediates to the final products by reductive elimination involving the second metal-nitrogen π-bond are also very high. The reactions of the Co complexes have lower activation barriers than Rh and Ir complexes. The barriers of the reactions involving olefins with electron-donating groups are generally lower compared to the reactions of the parent (unsubstituted) ethylene while the activation barriers for reactions of olefins with electron-withdrawing groups are generally higher compared to the parent (unsubstituted) ethylene. The one-step [3 + 2] pathway remains the most favoured irrespective of the metal centre or the nature of the olefin. The mechanism of the reaction is therefore settled in favour of the [3 + 2] addition pathway.