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Dimer radical cations of indole and indole-3-carbinol: localized and delocalized radical cations of diindolylmethane

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  • The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. - 2011, vol. 115, no. 26, p. 7700–7708
English Extending our previous study on the title species (J. Phys. Chem. A2010, 114, 6787), we investigated the dimer cations that are formed on oxidation of the glucobrassin derivatives indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and diindolylmethane (DIM) and of parent indole (I). Radiolysis in ionic liquid and Ar matrices shows that, at sufficiently high concentrations and/or on annealing the solid glasses, intense intermolecular charge-resonance (CR) absorption bands in the NIR herald the formation of sandwich-type dimer cations. The molecular and electronic structure of these species is modeled by calculations with the double-hybrid B2-PLYP-D density functional method which yields predictions in good accord with experiment. The radical cation of DIM also shows a CR band, but unlike in the case of I and I3C, its occurrence is not dependent on the concentration but instead on the solvent: in ionic liquid the CR band is initially absent and arises only on annealing, whereas in Ar matrices it is present from the outset and undergoes blue shifting and sharpening on annealing. These puzzling findings are rationalized on the basis of B2-PLYP-D calculations which predict that neutral DIM exists in the form of two conformers, present in different relative amounts in the two experiments, which on vertical ionization form distinct radical cations, a nonsymmetric one where the odd electron is largely localized on one of the two indole moieties and one with C₂ symmetry where charge and spin are completely delocalized over both halves of the molecule, thus giving rise to an intramolecular CR transition. On annealing, the nonsymmetric cation relaxes to a similarly delocalized structure with Cs symmetry, thus explaining the observed increase and the shift of the CR band. We believe that DIM•+ represents the first example of a radical cation which can exist under the same conditions as a localized and a delocalized complex cation.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Chimie
  • English
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