A low temperature X-ray study of the enol of benzoylacetone indicates fixed positions of the C and O atoms within the enolic ring system and an extensive bond delocalisation over these atoms. The distribution of electron density between the two oxygen atoms shows that the enolic hydrogen is spread over a wide range. This is in accordance with a structural model proposed by de la Vega, whereupon the C and O atoms are kept fixed in their average positions during a tunneling process of the hydrogen between the two oxygen atoms. With this conception, the chemical shifts in the 17O and 13C NMR spectra, the 13C13C spin coupling constants and the temperature independance of these values can be explained.
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