All-cis 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexafluorocyclohexane is a facially polarized cyclohexane

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The highest-energy stereoisomer of 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexafluorocyclohexane, in which all of the fluorines are ‘up’, is prepared in a 12-step protocol. The molecule adopts a classic chair conformation with alternate C–F bonds aligned triaxially, clustering three highly electronegative fluorine atoms in close proximity. This generates a cyclohexane with a high molecular dipole (μ = 6.2 D), unusual in an otherwise aliphatic compound. X-ray analysis indicates that the intramolecular Fax···Fax distances (∼2.77 Å) are longer than the vicinal Fax···Feq­ distances (∼2.73 Å) suggesting a tension stabilizing the chair conformation. In the solid state the molecules pack in an orientation consistent with electrostatic ordering. Our synthesis of this highest-energy isomer demonstrates the properties that accompany the placement of axial fluorines on a cyclohexane and the unusual property of a facially polarized ring in organic chemistry. Derivatives have potential as new motifs for the design of functional organic molecules or for applications in supramolecular chemistry design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-488
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number6
Early online date13 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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