Strong Short-range Cooperativity in Hydrogen-Bond Chains

Nicholas Dominelli Whiteley, James J. Brown, Kamila Muchowska, Ioulia Mati, Catherine Adam, Thomas Hubbard, Alexander Elmi, Alisdair J. Brown, Ian A. W. Bell, Scott Cockroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chains of hydrogen bonds such as those found in water and proteins are often presumed to be more stable than the sum of the individual H-bonds. However, the energetics of cooperativity are complicated by solvent effects and the dynamics of intermolecular interactions, meaning that such aspects are typically derived from theory or indirect structural data. Here, we present direct measurements of energetic cooperativity in an experimental system in which the geometry and number of H-bonds in a chain were systematically controlled. Strikingly, we found that adding a second H-bond donor to form a chain can almost double the strength of the terminal H-bond, while further extension had little effect. The experimental observations add weight to computations which have suggested that strong, but short-range cooperative effects may occur in H-bond chains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition
Early online date11 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2017


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