Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flat Is Beautiful: University Of Georgia Chemist Discovers New Bonding Arrangement For Carbon Molecules

Date:
December 11, 2000
Source:
University Of Georgia
Summary:
A computational chemist at the University of Georgia has found an entirely new bonding arrangement for carbon molecules, a discovery that could open new ideas about life’s most basic element.

A computational chemist at the University of Georgia has found an entirely new bonding arrangement for carbon molecules, a discovery that could open new ideas about life’s most basic element.

The research by Dr. Paul von Raguι Schleyer of UGA’s Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry was published today in the journal Science.

Scientists have known for well over a century that carbon normally binds with four other atoms or groups tetrahedrally to produce three-dimensional structures that have low energy requirements and therefore are naturally stable.

But a few chemists, including Schleyer, have used computational methods to predict that four groups around carbon molecules sometimes can lie in a plane. These weird flat molecules were only a theoretical idea until several examples were created in the laboratory. Now, Schleyer has taken the idea a step further: He and post-doctoral associate Kai Exner have put forward evidence for the first time that hexacoordinate, or six-sided flat carbon molecules, are theoretically possible.

“We have shown that planar configurations with more groups than anyone imagined before can exist,” said Schleyer. “What makes this discovery remarkable is that it violates two basic tenets of carbon chemistry–that carbon should have four bonds or neighbors, not six, and that molecules should be in 3-D arrangements–simultaneously.”

Nearly 125 years ago, chemists discovered that carbon has four bonds arranged in a tetrahedral manner. The researchers took for granted that the structure not only was tetrahedral but was rigidly tetrahedral, since any other configuration would have considerably more energy. The vast majority of carbon compounds, which form the basis of life, follow these expectations. Exceptions, which would mean that designs different from what scientists firmly believed, were not known.

That foundation was shaken in the early 1970s, when chemists like Roald Hoffmann of Cornell and then Schleyer unleashed the idea that flat configurations of carbon molecules are possible. Substantiated subsequently using increasingly powerful computers and software, Schleyer was able to predict with certainty that a number of such flat molecules might actually be able to exist. Such computations have been verified in the laboratory, most recently in two papers published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1999 and 2000.

In the first paper, chemists at Washington State University and the University of Utah synthesized a simple flat or planar molecule with one carbon atom at its center and four aluminum and silicon atoms bound to it. That group predicted that other five-atom molecules could exist in planar arrangements, and they subsequently proved it experimentally. The latter research was published earlier this year.

“Each new example . . . is a milestone, not just in validating theory, but in establishing the limits of such seemingly outlandish structures,” Schleyer told Chemical and Engineering News in August.

While experimental examples of flat tetracoordinate carbon molecules are now accumulating, the very idea that a hexacoordinate version might exist is, Schleyer admits, “incredible.” Nevertheless, he and Exner now predict the existence of such bizarre molecules, which could shed entirely new light on how carbon can bond with atoms to form molecules.

The team specifically used computational techniques to investigate the possibility of hexacoordinate molecules with a carbon in the center of six-atom rings. They designed the boron and carbon compounds by fitting the atoms together in optimal ways, making sure that all bond lengths were in just the right ranges. They then checked their predicted planar hexacoordinate structures to make sure they would be stable.

“The predicted existence of compounds with a planar hexacoordinate carbon, which has never been envisioned before, is exciting,” the authors wrote in their Science paper. While Schleyer calls the new discovery pure research and says that there can be no immediate use for truly new discoveries like these flat molecules. He points out that the laser was invented before any uses were known for it, but it’s now a ubiquitous part of the consumer world.

Maybe some day flat carbon molecules will find their way into the marketplace as well.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Georgia. "Flat Is Beautiful: University Of Georgia Chemist Discovers New Bonding Arrangement For Carbon Molecules." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001208073226.htm>.
University Of Georgia. (2000, December 11). Flat Is Beautiful: University Of Georgia Chemist Discovers New Bonding Arrangement For Carbon Molecules. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001208073226.htm
University Of Georgia. "Flat Is Beautiful: University Of Georgia Chemist Discovers New Bonding Arrangement For Carbon Molecules." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001208073226.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins