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The planarity of the second stable conformer of 1,3-butadiene, the archetypal diene for the Diels-Alder reaction in which a planar conjugated diene and a dienophile combine to form a ring, is not established. The most recent high level calculations predicted the species to adopt a twisted, gauche structure owing to steric interactions between the inner terminal hydrogens rather than a planar, cis structure favored by the conjugation of the double bonds. The structure cis-1,3-butadiene is unambiguously confirmed experimentally to indeed be gauche with a substantial dihedral angle of 34??, in excellent agreement with theory. Observation of two tunneling components indicates that the molecule undergoes facile interconversion between two equivalent enantiomeric forms. Comparison of experimentally determined structures for gauche- and trans-butadiene provides an opportunity to examine the effects of conjugation and steric interactions.

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Baraban, J. H.; Martin-Drumel, M.-A.; Changala, P. B.; Eibenberger, S.; Nava, M.; Patterson, D.; Stanton, J. F.; Ellison, G. B.; McCarthy, M. C., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 1821-1825Contributed by Steven BacharachReposted from Computational Organic Chemistry...
Sometimes you run across a paper that is surprising for a strange reason: hasnt this work been done years before? That was my response to seeing this paper on the structure of gauche-1,3-butadiene.1 Surely, a molecule as simple as this has been examined to...