Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

News from the Boron Universe

18.06.2012
It is safe to say that no one in the whole world knows as much about the element boron as the team of Professor Holger Braunschweig at the University of Würzburg: The progress of the Würzburg researchers in the boron chemistry is currently published in as many as three top journals.
The element boron never fails to surprise chemists. It is so electron-deficient that it forms highly unusual compounds with other elements. For this reason, many textbooks devote a separate chapter to boron.

Stable boron-boron triple bond

The recent success in boron research published in the top journal "Science" by Professor Holger Braunschweig and his research group at the University of Würzburg is also worthy to be covered in textbooks: A team working with doctoral student Jan Mies succeeded for the first time in creating a stable chemical triple bond between two boron atoms.

Double or triple bonds can be formed by only a few other elements, such as carbon, silicon or nitrogen. These multiple bonds are of general interest, because they make interesting reactions possible, e.g. the synthesis of plastics like polyethylene. The triply linked boron compound might also open the way for the development of new materials and drugs.

In the past decades, many researchers failed to implement this elusive boron-boron triple bond. The Würzburg scientists, however, have achieved not only this. They also describe some examples of chemical reactions taking place at the triple bond. "This is the stuff that textbooks are made of. There is no doubt that the boron-boron triple bond will soon be introduced into the textbooks on inorganic chemistry": This is the opinion of an expert, who reviewed the Würzburg research on behalf of "Science".

Platinum at work

New ways of binding boron in a targeted way to itself or to other elements are described by the Würzburg chemists in two other current publications. In the journal "Nature Communications", they demonstrate the synthesis of a molecule, which they would never have expected to exist in stable form: In the relevant complex, a platinum atom has "half" broken the bond between boron and carbon.

Platinum is used as a catalyst in many industrial processes in order to increase the rate of chemical reactions. In this capacity, it can cause bonds between atoms to be formed or broken. "In our molecule, platinum has the effect that the bond between boron and carbon has a status that is somewhere between 'intact' and 'broken'," says doctoral student Bernd Pfaffinger, who was significantly involved in the synthesis of the molecule.

"We think that this represents a kind of snapshot of a process in which platinum is about to break a bond." Usually, such a state is far too volatile to be directly detected. So the stability of the molecule came as a complete surprise to the researchers.

Boron atoms linked into a chain

The journal "Nature Chemistry" finally presents a Würzburg study in which four boron atoms were linked into a chain. "Previously, such chain-linking could only be achieved with 'aggressive methods', involving high temperatures and explosive alkali metals like sodium," explains Braunschweig's doctoral student Qing Ye. His team has now succeeded for the first time in synthesizing the boron chains at room temperature in a carbon monoxide environment, i.e. under comparatively mild chemical conditions.

Thus, the Würzburg researchers have brought the synthesis of longer chains of boron atoms one step closer to realization. Scientists have high hopes for such boron polymers: These compounds are expected to have interesting electronic properties so they should be excellent materials for new applications in electronics.

"Ambient-Temperature Isolation of a Compound with a Boron-Boron Triple Bond", Holger Braunschweig, Rian D. Dewhurst, Kai Hammond, Jan Mies, Krzysztof Radacki and Alfredo Vargas. Science, 15 June 2012, Vol. 336 no. 6087 pp. 1420-1422, DOI: 10.1126/science.1221138

"Unsupported Boron-Carbon o-Coordination to Platinum as an Isolable Snapshot of o-Bond Activation", Holger Braunschweig, Peter Brenner, Rian D. Dewhurst, Ivo Krummenacher, Bernd Pfaffinger, Alfredo Vargas. Nature Communications 3, 29 May 2012, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1884

"Controlled Homocatenation of Boron on a Transition Metal", Holger Braunschweig, Qing Ye, Alfredo Vargas, Rian D. Dewhurst, Krzysztof Radacki, Alexander Damme, Nature Chemistry, 17 Juni 2012, DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1379

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Holger Braunschweig,
Institute for Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Würzburg,
phone +49 (0)931 31-85260, h.braunschweig@uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>