Bond Dissociation Energies of Carbene-Carbene and Carbene-Main Group Adducts

Monica Vasiliu, The University of Alabama
Kyle C. Edwards, The University of Alabama
Daniela Tapu, Kennesaw State University
Clarisa E. Castillo, The University of Alabama


A range of carbene structures and their adducts with one another and with a selection of small-molecule electrophiles and nucleophiles were examined at the composite correlated molecular orbital theory G3MP2 level to explore ground-state "carbenic" structures, their stabilities, and reactivities. Differences between carbene general classification as a singlet electrophilic carbene or singlet nucleophilic carbene and their given reactivity are discussed. A key quantity is the carbon-carbon bond dissociation energy for carbene dimers or the carbene-adduct dissociation energy for other species. The carbene dimer bond dissociation energies span a wide range from 10 to 170 kcal/mol. The hydrogenation energies and singlet-triplet splitting were found to correlate best with the carbene's self-dimerization energy, whereas other descriptors do not. The proton and fluoride affinities of the carbenes alone prove inadequate for classifying reactivity among classes of carbenes. The self-dimerization bond dissociation energy, hydrogenation energy, and singlet-triplet splitting of various carbenes, despite sometimes large differences in proton affinity and other indicators of reactivity, provide usable metrics to correlate substantial amounts of thermodynamic and kinetic (reactivity) information regarding these structures.