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Molecular conformational structures of 2-fluorobenzoyl chloride, 2-chlorobenzoyl chloride, and 2-bromobenzoyl chloride by gas electron diffraction and normal coordinate analysis aided by quantum chemical calculations


The gas phase molecular structures and conformational compositions of 2-fluorobenzoyl chloride, 2-chlorobenzoyl chloride, and 2-bromobenzoyl chloride have been investigated using gas electron diffraction data obtained from experiments performed in the laboratories of the University of Oslo and Oregon State University. The refinements on the experimental data have been aided by normal coordinate calculations as well as extensive ab initio molecular orbital and density functional theory calculations up to the levels of MP4(SDQ) and B3LYP with larger basis sets up to the level of 6-311 + G(2d,p) for the computed molecular geometries, electronic energies, vibrational zero-point energies and entropy corrections, gas mixture conformational compositions, and MP2(fc) quantum mechanical force fields. The three title molecules each exist in the gas phase as two stable non-planar conformers anti and gauche with respect to the halogen atom positions with anti the lower energy conformer in each case. Among the three title molecules there have been found considerable experimental and theoretical support for several trends in molecular or conformational behavior with increasing ortho halogen atomic size: An increasing although disputable trend in the C=O bond distance values; an increasing trend in the average phenyl ring C–C bond distance values; an increasing trend in the contribution of the gauche conformer to the gaseous mixture lowering the standard free energy difference values (ΔGo) correspondingly; and an increasing deviation from full planarity (Cs symmetry) in both the anti and the gauche conformers of the title molecules with increasing ortho halogen atomic size. Only in the anti conformer of 2-fluorobenzoyl chloride does the experimental data refinements suggest close to full planarity for these 2-halobenzoyl chloride molecules.


Academic article


  • Sigma2 / NN9129K





  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway
  • SINTEF Industry / Sustainable Energy Technology
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology



Published in

Structural Chemistry








789 - 805

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