Why 1,2-quinone derivatives are more stable than their 2,3-analogues?

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In this work, we have studied the relative stability of 1,2- and 2,3-quinones. While 1,2-quinones have a closed-shell singlet ground state, the ground state for the studied 2,3-isomers is open-shell singlet, except for 2,3-naphthaquinone that has a closed-shell singlet ground state. In all cases, 1,2-quinones are more stable than their 2,3-counterparts. We analyzed the reasons for the higher stability of the 1,2-isomers through energy decomposition analysis in the framework of Kohn–Sham molecular orbital theory. The results showed that we have to trace the origin of 1,2-quinones’ enhanced stability to the more efficient bonding in the π-electron system due to more favorable overlap between the SOMOπ of the ·C4n−2H2n–CH·· and ··CH–CO–CO· fragments in the 1,2-arrangement. Furthermore, whereas 1,2-quinones present a constant trend with their elongation for all analyzed properties (geometric, energetic, and electronic), 2,3-quinone derivatives present a substantial breaking in monotonicity ​
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