Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clean 3-way split observed

11.08.2008
Study in the journal Science provides first proof of unlikely phenomenon

In chemistry as in life, threesomes are not known to break up neatly.

And while open-minded thinkers have insisted that clean three-way splits do happen, nobody had actually witnessed one – until now.

A paper in the Aug. 8 issue of Science provides the first hard evidence for the simultaneous break-up of a molecule into three equal parts.

Previous studies of so-called "concerted break-ups" had only suggested their existence, said co-author Anna Krylov, a theoretical chemist at the University of Southern California.

"The experiments by our collaborators (at the University of California, San Diego) demonstrated that this mechanism is present, and our theory explained why and how it happens," she said.

The breakthrough matters for two reasons. Concerted reactions have long been thought to play an important role in organic chemistry, and Krylov's theoretical model offers a framework for better understanding and perhaps manipulating such reactions.

In addition, important phenomena in the atmosphere and in combustion involve three-body reactions. Ozone forms when three molecules come together at exactly the same time – an event no different in theory from a simultaneous split.

Such events are relatively rare: Theory and experiment agree that in most cases a threesome will fall apart in steps, with one bond breaking before the next.

"Why would it happen simultaneously?" Krylov asked rhetorically.

But she and graduate student Vadim Mozhayskiy showed that if the electrons of the sym-triazine molecule are energized in a particular way, the whole flies apart into three identical and equally energetic parts.

Unraveling the mechanism has become possible only through the combined efforts of theoreticians and experimentalists.

Co-author Robert Continetti and his team at UCSD used electrical charges to energize molecules of sym-triazine to their breaking point. By separating the molecules in time and space, the researchers were able to identify the products from individual molecular events.

In some cases, the three parts from a single molecule had exactly the same energy and reached detectors at the same time, indicating that a simultaneous three-way split had occurred.

Even with this discovery, three-body reactions remain largely mysterious, Krylov said.

"The gap in understanding of single-bond and multiple-bond breaking processes is just incredible."

Krylov hopes to promote further work in the field through her iOpenShell Center, a USC-based institute supported by the National Science Foundation and created to foster collaborations between theoretical and experimental chemists.

"The center provides a framework for these interactions," she said.

Carl Marziali | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>