The quest for stabilizing planar forms of tetracoordinate carbon started five decades ago and intends to achieve interconversion between [R
]- and [S
]-stereoisomers without breaking covalent bonds. Several strategies are successful in making the planar tetracoordinate form a minimum on its potential energy surface. However, the first examples of systems where stereomutation is possible were reported only recently. In this study, the possibility of neutral and dications of simple hydrocarbons (cyclopentane, cyclopentene, spiropentane, and spiropentadiene) and their counterparts with the central carbon atom replaced by elements from groups 13, 14, and 15 are explored using ab initio MP2 calculations. The energy difference between the tetrahedral and planar forms decreases from row II to row III or IV substituents. Additionally, aromaticity involving the delocalization of the lone pair on the central atom appears to help in further stabilizing the planar form compared to the tetrahedral form, especially for the row II substituents. We identified 11 systems where the tetrahedral state is a minimum on the potential energy surface, and the planar form is a transition state corresponding to stereomutation. Interestingly, the planar structures of three systems were found to be minimum, and the corresponding tetrahedral states were transition states. The energy profiles corresponding to such transitions involving both planar and tetrahedral states without the breaking of covalent bonds were examined. The systems showcased in this study and research in this direction are expected to realize molecules that experimentally exhibit stereomutation.
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