Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists Identify Organic Molecules That Mimic Metals

Date:
April 20, 2007
Source:
University of California - Riverside
Summary:
Chemists at UC Riverside report that a class of carbenes -- molecules that have unusual, highly reactive carbon atoms -- can mimic, to some extent, the behavior of metals. The organic molecules could be used to develop carbon-based systems for storing hydrogen, and transform ammonia into amino compounds used to make pharmaceuticals and bulk industrial materials.

A cartoon representation of a carbene splitting hydrogen and ammonia.
Credit: G. Frey

A limitation in using hydrogen as a fuel in hydrogen-powered vehicles is the difficulty involved in storing it in a cost-effective and convenient manner. While it is possible to store hydrogen using metals, the resulting products often can be prohibitively expensive and cause environmental problems.

Related Articles


Chemists at UC Riverside now offer a possible solution. A class of carbenes -- molecules that have unusual, highly reactive carbon atoms -- can mimic, to some extent, the behavior of metals, the chemists have found. Called cyclic alkyl amino carbenes or CAACs, these organic molecules, the researchers report, could be used to develop carbon-based systems for storing hydrogen.

Study results appear in the April 20 issue of Science.

In their experiments, the researchers found that the CAACs can split hydrogen under extremely mild conditions, a behavior that has long been seen in metals reacting with hydrogen.

"The mode of action of these organic molecules, however, is totally different from that of metals," said Guy Bertrand, a distinguished professor of chemistry who led the research. "Moreover, the CAACs are able to split ammonia as well -- an extremely difficult task for metals."

Bertrand explained that such a splitting of ammonia, under certain conditions, can pave the way for transforming abundant and inexpensive ammonia into useful amino compounds used to make pharmaceuticals and bulk industrial materials. "This is one of the top challenges for the 21st century," he said.

According to the UCR research team, the metal-mimicking carbenes offer another low-cost and low-toxicity benefit: Scientists now may be able to use non-metallic catalysts for a reaction, called "hydrogenation reaction," which plays a critical role in the food, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.

In their study, the researchers exposed a solution of CAACs to both gaseous hydrogen and liquid ammonia. "We used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze the products," said Guido Frey, the first author of the research paper and a postdoctoral fellow, supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, in Bertrand's lab. "And we used single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis to confirm the structure of the products."

A carbene is a molecule that has a carbon atom with six electrons instead of the usual eight. Because of the electron deficiency, carbenes are highly reactive and usually unstable in nature.

The National Science Foundation and Rhodia, Inc., provided support for the study. Bertrand and Frey were joined in the research by the following individuals at UCR: Vincent Lavallo, a graduate student; Bruno Donnadieu, a research associate supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; and Wolfgang Schoeller, an adjunct professor of chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Riverside. "Chemists Identify Organic Molecules That Mimic Metals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419140923.htm>.
University of California - Riverside. (2007, April 20). Chemists Identify Organic Molecules That Mimic Metals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419140923.htm
University of California - Riverside. "Chemists Identify Organic Molecules That Mimic Metals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419140923.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) The first flight of Etihad Airways' long-awaited Airbus A380 superjumbo will take place later in December, the Abu Dhabi carrier said Thursday, also announcing its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner route. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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