Theoretica chimica acta

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 365–372 | Cite as

Cycloreversion of cyclobutanes

  • Karl Jug
  • Peter L. Müller
Original Investigations


Semiempirical MO calculations with the method SINDO1 were performed to study the potential energy surface of cyclobutane and several substituted cyclobutanes with substituents F, OCH3 and CN. The reaction pathway with the lowest activation energy leading to two ethylenic fragments is nonconcerted. One carbon bond is broken after symmetric opening of two adjacent bond angles and twisting of the carbon framework. The first transition state is asymmetric and diradicaloid. The reaction proceeds to a diradicaloid, non-zwitterionic intermediate. The second transition state is characterized by bond breaking of the inner carbon-carbon bond. For the unsubstituted case, the barrier for free rotation of the outer methylenic groups was also calculated. In comparison, the unsubstituted reaction is characterized by transition states of almost equal energy, whereas in the substituted reactions the barriers for the second bond breaking are much higher than for the first bond breaking step.

Key words

Cycloreversion of Cyclobutanes 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl Jug
    • 1
  • Peter L. Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.Theoretische ChemieUniversität HannoverHannover 1Federal Republic of Germany

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