Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

One dozen at a blow: main principle for alloys is discovered

12.11.2008
Molecular metallurgists galvanize and gild atoms - RUB scientists hit the title story of "Angewandte Chemie"

They turned out to be steelworkers, running their steel mill in the nanoworld - the chemists around Prof. Dr. Roland A. Fischer (faculty of chemistry of RUB). In the neverland between molecule and metal they discovered a new family of compounds.

The prototype of these new “nano alloys” is a compound containing one central molybdenum atom binding twelve zinc atoms. The icosahedral metal chunk is wrapped into hydrocarbons and therefore surprisingly stable. Its construction is transferable to both other metal centers and other structures. Also the zinc atoms can be exchanged to other metal atoms, even to gold. The scientists report about this simultaneously in the title story of “Angewandte Chemie” and in “Chemistry & Engineering News” of the American Chemical Society.

Galvanized and gilded metal atoms

Gregorius Agricolas famous opus of the year 1556 about mining and metallurgy contained the knowledge of metallurgy at his time. De re metallica would also be a good title for a present chemistry textbook, keeping in mind that four fifth of all elements in the periodic table are metals. Zinc is an exceptional metal for alloys, e.g. brass is just a mixture of copper and zinc. On the atomic level the “alloying” is related to the formation of metal clusters, small chunks made of several metal atoms.

A central metal atom binds other metal atoms leading to a structure which contains exactly the number of corners as atoms bound to the central atom. According to the binding properties of the metal atoms higher structures are formed. “Of particular beauty is the icosahedron, a structure made of twenty equilateral triangles”, says Prof. Fischer. “It represents the highest symmetric platonic body.” The newly discovered molecule exhibits exactly this structure, in which a molybdenum atom holds a dozen of zinc atoms. The scientists discovered that other metal atoms like iron, nickel and platinum can be similarly galvanized in a molecular way, they can be even gilded.

Molecular metallography

The discovered icosahedron (Mo(ZnR)12) is related rather closely to tetrahedral methane (CH4): The ZnR units bound to the central molybdenum behave analogously to the hydrogen atoms in methane. The quantum theoretical analysis of Prof. Dr. Gernot Frenking (Marburg) confirms that the radial bonds between molybdenum and zinc are strong whereas the peripheric zinc atoms bind barely to each other. Therefore zinc can be exchanged by other metals, even by gold.

This matches with the property of metals to form alloys. For a modeling of this phenomenon on a molecular level new synthetic methods are discovered now. The new molecules help to understand the chemical binding properties between metal atoms and are also interesting as precursors for catalysts (SFB 558, project B10; http://www.sfb558.de/).

Prof. Dr. Roland A. Fischer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sfb558.de
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/121501704/HTMLSTART
http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>