Study of the Wilcox torsion balance in solution for a Tröger’s base derivative with hexyl-and heptyl substituents using a combined molecular mechanics and quantum chemistry approach

  • Andreas HeßelmannEmail author
  • Federica Ferraro
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Tim Clark 70th Birthday Festschrift


The folding equilibrium of the Wilcox torsion balance in solution has been studied using a molecular mechanics method for sampling the conformational space and semi-empirical and density-functional quantum chemistry methods for characterizing the relative stabilities of various solute–solvent clusters extracted with the aid of the MD-quench technique from the different simulations that were performed. The role of the solvent environment has been analyzed by choosing four solvents of different polarities, namely water, acetone, tetrachloromethane, and n-hexane. In all cases, it is found that the attractive intramolecular interactions in folded conformations are strongly compensated by the increase of the solute–solvent interaction energies when the molecule unfolds. The latter can be well explained by the larger number of solvent molecules that can bind to the Wilcox molecule when in an unfolded conformation. The results of this work therefore support the experimental results of Yang et al. (Nature Chem 5:1006, 2013) that the folding free energy of the Wilcox balance is strongly reduced in solution as compared to the gas phase.


Wilcox torsion balance Solvent Intramolecular interactions Intermolecular interactions 



Financial support of this work through the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) priority Program No. SPP1807 (“Control of London dispersion interactions in molecular chemistry”) is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

894_2019_3935_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (86 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Theoretische ChemieUniversität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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