We report on the molecular structures of the two most abundant conformers of n-octanal observed by molecular beam Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy. Next to limonene, which is the main component of citrus-oil, octanal and other n-alkyl aldehydes strongly enhance the typical fresh smell of lemon-oil. Due to the high flexibility of its n-alkyl chain and the high number of possible conformers, different semi-empirical methods (AM1, PM3, MMFF94) were used to sample the conformational space of octanal before performing more sophisticated quantum chemical calculations at the MP2 level of theory. This technique has previously been shown to be an ideal tool to characterize relevant odorant structures in fragrance chemistry. The structure of octanal and structurally related molecules is discussed in the context of the most abundant chain conformations and the potential use of the microwave validated structures for further studies in biological media.
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Truong, K.-N., Weger, L., Stahl, W., & Mouhib, H. (2017). Favored Conformations of Carbonyl Compounds: A Structural Study of n-Octanal. ChemPhysChem: a European journal of chemical physics and physical chemistry, 18(19), 2631-2636. doi:10.1002/cphc.201700341.
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