Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First complexation of multiple CO molecules to a non-metal atom

18.06.2015

For the first time, Würzburg scientists have successfully bound multiple carbon monoxide molecules to the main group element boron. They report on their work in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature.

Scientists of Professor Holger Braunschweig's team of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg have successfully bound two carbon monoxide molecules (CO) to the main group element boron in a direct synthesis for the first time. The result is a borylene-dicarbonyl complex.


Caption 1: Molecular structure of the borylene-dicarbonyl in the solid determined by x-ray structure analysis

(Picture: Dr. Florian Hupp and Dr. Krzysztof Radacki)

Such complexes, or coordination complexes, are generally made up of one or more central molecules and one or more ligands. The central molecules are usually atoms of transition metals.

"Binding one CO molecule to a main group element is already extraordinary. Bonding two molecules two one non-metal atom is even more extraordinary," says chemist Rian Dewhurst. Dewhurst, who is working on Professor Holger Braunschweig's team, submitted the article together with several co-authors. It is the first work of the institute to have been accepted by the journal Nature.

"In future, borylene-dicarbonyls could be used to mimic the properties of transition metal carbonyl complexes," Dewhurst further. Transition metals have specific electronic properties. These elements from group four to twelve in the periodic table have the ability to bind multiple carbon monoxide molecules relatively easily.

Advantages of boron compounds

Generally, boron compounds are important for various industrial applications. They are used, for example, in catalytic processes, in various molecular and solid materials or in the production of pharmaceutical drugs. A catalyst accelerates a desired chemical reaction without being consumed in the process.

Boron has the advantage of being readily available and comparably low-priced. It occurs naturally mostly in mineral form and is mined in borate mines in California and Turkey, for example. Moreover, the element is non-toxic for humans and other mammals. "Combined with its unique electronic properties, this makes boron very interesting for industrial and other commercial uses," Dewhurst explains.

Boron is a highly reactive element. With three electrons on the outer shells, boron strives to form bonds that enable eight electrons, which the noble gases neon, argon or xenon already have in their basic state.

Lone electron pair at the central molecule

The borylene-dicarbonyl complex also has eight electrons involved in the bonds to the boron atom. With two electrons, respectively, presenting the bonds to the two CO molecules and two others binding one hydrocarbyl, the researchers were able to establish one lone electron pair amounting to eight electrons in total. "It is the lone electron pair that makes the complex special. The hydrocarbyl assures stability. It shields the structure in a manner of speaking," says Marco Nutz, a doctoral candidate. He adds: "Most compounds that can be isolated in this way are unstable outside a protective atmosphere." The Würzburg discovery, however, remains stable for several days even in a "normal" environment exposed to air and moisture.

Dewhurst and Nutz are conducting basic research. "In a next step, we are going to further investigate the compound we have presented. We are pursuing different angles here," Dewhurst says. One focus will be to compare the properties of conventional transition metal carbonyl complexes with those of the borylene-carbonyl complex in detail.

In recent years, the attention of natural science has progressively focused on boron. According to Dewhurst, the increasing significance of boron is also reflected in the growing interest in the element on the part of organic chemistry and in the fact that material science, too, is closely following the advances made in boron complex research.

"Multiple Complexation of CO and Related Ligands to a Main Group Element" by Holger Braunschweig, Rian D. Dewhurst, Florian Hupp, Marco Nutz, Krzysztof Radacki, Christopher W. Tate, Alfredo Vargas, Qing Ye. Nature vol 522, issue 7556 pp.327-330, DOI 10.1038/nature14489

Contact:
Prof. Holger Braunschweig, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg
Phone: +49 931 31-88104, e-mail: h.braunschweig@uni-wuerzburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.presse.uni-wuerzburg.de University's press office

Marco Bosch | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, 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

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>