Compounds with long C-C bonds have typically been designed by placing large, sterically bulky groups attached to the two carbons. Not only does this lead to a longer bond (like the 1.67 Å C-C bond in 1) but these bulky groups also weaken the bond. This leads to molecules that tend to be difficult to isolate.

1 R = t-But

Schreiner has taken an alternative approach: design a sterically crowded molecules that is stabilized by dispersive forces between the large groups!1 The dimer formed from diamantane 2 was prepared and isolated. The C-C distance is quite long: 1.647 Å. The compound is stable up to at least 300 ° C.


Computations of 2 were performed with a variety of density functional, all of which predict a long C-C bond. The bond dissociation energy of 2 is predicted to be 43.9 kcal mol-1 at B3LYP/6-31G(d,p), a value consistent with the long CC bond. However, B3LYP does not account for dispersion. The HH distances between the two diamantyl groups range from 1.94 – 2.28 Å, suggesting that there could be appreciable dispersion stabilization. In fact, computing the BDE with B3LYP+D (Grimme’s dispersion correction) or B97D or M06-2x (all of which account for dispersion to some extent), predicts a much stronger bond, with the BDE ranging from 65-71 kcal mol-1! Here is a stable molecule with a stroing, yet long C-C bond – where a good deal of the strength results not form the interaction between the two atoms of the formal bond, but rather from the energy associated form interactions across the entire molecule. This is a true delocalization effect!

Figure 1. B3LYP-D/6-31G(d,p) optimized structure of 2.


(1) Schreiner, P. R.; Chernish, L. V.; Gunchenko, P. A.; Tikhonchuk, E. Y.; Hausmann, H.; Serafin, M.; Schlecht, S.; Dahl, J. E. P.; Carlson, R. M. K.; Fokin, A. A., "Overcoming lability of extremely long alkane carbon-carbon bonds through dispersion forces," Nature, 2011, 477, 308-311, DOI: 10.1038/nature10367.


1: InChI=1/C86H126/c1-73(2,3)55-37-56(74(4,5)6)44-67(43-55)85(68-45-57(75(7,8)9)38-58(46-68)76(10,11)12

2: InChI=1/C28H38/c1-13-7-23-19-3-15-4-20(17(1)19)24(8-13)27(23,11-15)28-12-16-5-21-18-2-14(9-25(21)28)