In the crystal structure of triphenylmethanol (Ph3COH), the molecules form hydrogen-bonded tetramers, with the oxygen atoms positioned approximately at the corners of a tetrahedron. In the average crystal structure, three of the Ph3COH molecules (denoted as "basal") in the tetramer are related to each other by a 3-fold rotation axis and the fourth molecule (denoted as "apical") lies on this axis. Previously, the dynamic properties of the hydrogen-bonding arrangement have been probed through solid-state H-2 NMR spectroscopic investigations of Ph3COD. There are two dynamically distinguishable types of hydroxyl hydrogen atoms (deuterons), denoted d(1) and d(3), with relative populations in the ratio 1:3. Each d(1) deuteron undergoes three-site 120 degrees jumps by rotation about the C-OD bond, with equal populations of the three sites involved in this motion. Each d(3) deuteron undergoes two-site 120 degrees jumps by rotation about the C-OD bond, with equal populations of the two sites involved in this motion. In the present paper, we focus on structural characterization of the hydrogen-bonding arrangement in solid triphenylmethanol. Single-crystal neutron diffraction has been used to determine accurate positions of the hydroxyl hydrogen atoms in the hydrogen-bonding arrangement, single-crystal X-ray diffraction has extended previous structural studies across a wider temperature range, and high-resolution solid-state C-13 NMR spectroscopy has provided insights into local structural aspects of the hydrogen-bonded tetramers. Importantly, the neutron diffraction results show that, for both the apical and basal molecules in the average crystal structure, the hydroxyl hydrogen atoms are disordered among three sites, corresponding closely to the geometries expected for O-H ... O hydrogen bonds. The populations of the three hydroxyl hydrogen sites for each molecule are statistically equal, and there is thus an apparent dilemma in bringing together information on the spatial distribution of the hydroxyl hydrogens conveyed by the average crystal structure and information on the spatial distribution of the hydroxyl hydrogens implicated by the dynamic model determined from H-2 NMR spectroscopy. Through a detailed discussion of the different ways in which structural information is averaged in the different techniques (neutron diffraction, X-ray diffraction, H-2 NMR, and C-13 NMR) that have been applied in our studies of solid triphenylmethanol, these apparent difficulties can be completely reconciled. In conclusion, we present a coherent description of the structural and dynamic properties of the hydrogen-bonding arrangement in solid triphenylmethanol, which is consistent with the information provided by each of the techniques used.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Physical Chemistry B
|Published - 29 Jul 1999