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The Prodigious Hydrogen Bonds with Sulfur and Selenium in Molecular Assemblies, Structural Biology, and Functional Materials

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-07-17, 09:56 authored by Apramita Chand, Dipak Kumar Sahoo, Abhijit Rana, Subhrakant Jena, Himansu S. Biswal
ConspectusHydrogen bonds (H-bonds) play important roles in imparting functionality to the basic molecules of life by stabilizing their structures and directing their interactions. Numerous studies have been devoted to understanding H-bonds involving highly electronegative atoms like nitrogen, oxygen, and halogens and consequences of those H-bonds in chemical reactions, catalysis, and structure and function of biomolecules; but the involvement of less electronegative atoms like sulfur and selenium in H-bond formation establishes the concept of noncanonical H-bonds. Initially belittled for the “weak” nature of their interactions, these perceptions have gradually evolved over time through dedicated efforts by several research groups. This has been facilitated by advancements in experimental methods for their detection through gas-phase laser spectroscopy and solution NMR spectroscopy, as well as through theoretical predictions from high level quantum chemical calculations.In this Account, we present insights into the versatility of the sulfur and selenium centered H-bonds (S/SeCHBs) by highlighting their multifarious applications in various fields from chemical reactions to optoelectronic properties to structural biology. Our group has highlighted the significance and strength of such H-bonds in natural and modified biomolecules. Here, we have reviewed several molecular assemblies, biomolecules, and functional materials, where the role of these H-bonds is pivotal in influencing biological functions. It is worth mentioning here that the precise experimental data obtained from gas-phase laser spectroscopy have contributed considerably to changing the existing perceptions toward S/SeCHBs. Thus, molecular beam experiments, though difficult to perform on smaller model thio- or seleno-substituted Molecules, etc. (amides, nucleobases, drug molecules), are inevitable to gather elementary knowledge and convincing concepts on S/SeCHBs that can be extended from a small four-atom sulfanyl dimer to a large 14 kDa iron–sulfur protein, ferredoxin. These H-bonds can also tailor a fascinating array of molecular frameworks and design supramolecular assemblies by inter- and intralinking of individual “molecular Lego-like” units.The discussion is indeed intriguing when it turns to the usage of S/SeCHBs in facile synthetic strategies like tuning regioselectivity in reactions, as well as invoking phenomena like dual phosphorescence and chemiluminescence. This is in addition to our investigations of the dispersive nature of the hydrogen bond between metal hydrides and sulfur or selenium as acceptor, which we anticipate would lead to progress in the areas of proton and hydride transfer, as well as force-field design. This Account demonstrates how ease of fabrication, enhanced efficiency, and alteration of physicochemical properties of several functional materials is facilitated owing to the presence of S/SeCHBs. Our efforts have been instrumental in the evaluation of various S/SeCHBs in flue gas capture, as well as design of organic energy harvesting materials, where dipole moment and polarizability have important roles to play. We hope this Account invokes newer perspectives with regard to how H-bonds with sulfur and selenium can be adequately adopted for crystal engineering, for more photo- and biophysical studies with different spectroscopic methods, and for developing next-generation field-effect transistors, batteries, superconductors, and organic thin-film transistors, among many other multifunctional materials for the future.