Studies of electronic and structural properties of molecular clusters of prebiotic importance

Aylward, Nigel Nunn (2006) Studies of electronic and structural properties of molecular clusters of prebiotic importance. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis applies the ab initio techniques of computational chemistry to studies of molecular clusters containing covalent (strong) or van der Waals (weak) bonds formed in chemistry and biochemistry in the temperature range 10-300 K. Van derWaals complexes with an enthalpy of formation from reactants of less than 25 kJ mol-1 and covalent clusters are described in this thesis.

The first group of van der Waals complexes involved the molecule carbon monoxide that possesses a small permanent dipole that could lead to dipole - induced dipole interaction and dipole - dipole interaction with another reactant in addition to dispersion. The substrates investigated were methanimine and cyanogen where endergonic unstable molecules were formed, and the clustering of carbon monoxideon a porphin surface leading to the formation of carbon - carbon fragments. TheFaraday effect was invoked to suggest that this was the original method by which thechirality of the D-sugars was selected. Coordination of imino-compounds on thesame surface involving induction and electrostatic interactions could lead to the preferential formation of L-aziridones, hydrolysable to L-amino-acids.The preferred formation of D-ribose, and the more stable D-2-deoxyribose, andnucleotides polymerisable to deoxyribonucleic acids was described.

The second group of van der Waals complexes involved the polymerisation of acetylene molecules, to di- and tri-acetylene complexes where the exchange interaction involved the quadrupole moment of the acetylene radical reacting with acetylene or diacetylene. The reaction of carbon monoxide was extended to include its interaction with diacetylene. The entire potential energy surface for the interaction with diacetylene was investigated. The reaction was shown to be endergonic to produce a reactive species, here postulated to rearrange with a reasonable activation energy toform an aldehyde. The energetics of the formation of diacetylene, triacetylene andhigher polymers was briefly investigated. The reactivity of the acetylene polymeraldehydes with other substrates was briefly investigated.

This work has apparently laid a firm basis both, qualitative and quantitative, tounderstand some of the weakest interactions in nature involving the simplest ofreactions that have been important in atmospheric chemistry.

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ID Code: 16328
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Bofinger, Neville & George, Graeme
Keywords: carbon monoxide, azirine-2one, aziridine-2one, 2, 2’-bi(cycloazirine-3one), nicotinamide, flavin, folic acid D-ribose, D-2deoxyribose, L-amino-acids, nucleotides, deoxyribonucleic acid 2-methylene-2H-pyrrole, porphin
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Nigel Nunn Aylward
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:01
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:46

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