Projects per year
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Using accurate quantum chemical calculations, we show that extended planar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can efficiently catalyze a range of chemical processes involving non-planar aromatic systems. These include (i) bowl-to-bowl inversion of curved PAHs (e.g. corannulene and sumanene), (ii) 'flip-flop' inversion of helicenes (e.g. benzo[c]phenanthrene), and (iii) rotation about the PhPh bond in biphenyls. Non-covalent π-π interactions between the planar catalyst and the substrate stabilize the planar transition structures to a greater extent than they stabilize the non-planar reactants. These result in surprisingly large catalytic enhancements (namely, the reaction barrier heights are reduced by 21-63% of the uncatalyzed reaction barriers).