Search for a predicted hydrogen bonding motif: a multidisciplinary investigation into the polymorphism of 3-Azabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane-2,4-dione

Ashley T. Hulme, Andrea Johnston, Alastair J. Florence, Phillipe Fernandes, Kenneth Shankland, Colin T. Bedford, Gareth W. A. Welch, Ghazala Sadiq, Delia A. Haynes, W. D. Samuel Motherwell, Derek A. Tocher, Sarah L. Price

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The predictions of the crystal structure of 3-azabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane-2,4-dione submitted in the 2001 international blind test of crystal structure prediction (CSP2001) led to the conclusion that crystal structures containing an alternative hydrogen bonded dimer motif were energetically competitive with the known catemer-based structure. Here we report an extensive search for a dimer-based crystal structure. Using an automated polymorph screen a new catemer-based metastable polymorph (form 2) and two new catemer-based solvates were found, and concurrent thermal studies reproduced form 2 and identified a plastic phase (form 3), whose powder X-ray diffraction pattern was consistent with the cubic space group I23 (a = 7.5856(1) Å). Computational studies on the monomer showed that the imide N−H was a weak hydrogen bond donor, rationalizing the occurrence of the plastic phase which involved the breaking of all hydrogen bonds, and modeling of small clusters showed that dimers could easily reorganize to give the catemer. FTIR spectra confirmed the weakness of the hydrogen bond, with the solute showing no self-assembly in solution. It is concluded that the weakness of the N−H donor, coupled with the globular shape of the molecule, allows unusually facile transformation between alternative hydrogen bonding motifs during aggregation and nucleation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3649-3657
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American Chemical Society
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • hydrogen bonding motif
  • polymorphism


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