A theoretical study of the substituent and solvent effects on the reaction of phosphines with CO2
has been carried out by means of Møller-Plesset (MP2) computational level calculations and continuum polarizable method (PCM) solvent models. Three stationary points along the reaction coordinate have been characterized, a pre-transition state (TS) assembly in which a pnicogen bond or tetrel bond is established between the phosphine and the CO2
molecule, followed by a transition state, and leading finally to the adduct in which the P–C bond has been formed. The solvent effects on the stability and geometry of the stationary points are different. Thus, the pnicogen bonded complexes are destabilized as the dielectric constant of the solvent increases while the opposite happens within the adducts with the P–C bond and the TSs trend. A combination of the substituents and solvents can be used to control the most stable minimum.
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