Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

"Missing Link" Molecule May Offer Clues To Sulfur In Air, Space

26.06.2002


This model depicts hydrogen thioperoxide, or HSOH, a molecule thought to be a "missing link" in its chemical family. Here gray represents hydrogen atoms, yellow a sulfur atom, and red an oxygen atom. Ohio State University physicists and their colleagues in Germany were the first to synthesize the molecule in the laboratory, and record its unique spectrum.
Graphic courtesy of Ohio State University.


A study at Ohio State University is probing the nature of a unique sulfur-containing molecule -- one that scientists consider a "missing link" in its chemical family.

The molecule, hydrogen thioperoxide, or HSOH for short, is related to the common bleaching and disinfectant agent hydrogen peroxide. Because HSOH contains sulfur, it could eventually help scientists understand how pollutants form in Earth’s atmosphere, and how similar molecules form in outer space.

Scientists presented an initial study of the molecule June 18, 2002, at the annual International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy at Ohio State University.



A special laboratory instrument is allowing physicists here to study the molecule in detail for the first time. Frank De Lucia, professor of physics at Ohio State, and his colleagues designed the instrument to utilize their FAST Scan Submillimeter Spectroscopy Technique (FASSST).

The technique offers a quick way for scientists to examine the spectrum of light given off by a molecule. Each molecule has its own one-of-a-kind spectral pattern. FASSST takes a snapshot of a wide range of spectral wavelengths, so scientists can easily recognize the pattern of the molecule they are looking for.

Since the 1960’s, scientists have speculated that a sulfur molecule like HSOH could exist in Earth’s upper atmosphere and outer space. Coal burning power plants, for instance, release sulfur from smokestack exhaust, and HSOH’s other main ingredient -- water -- is abundant in the atmosphere.

But no one was able to synthesize the HSOH in the laboratory until Markus Behnke, a graduate student at the University of Cologne, Germany, did so in 2001. His collaborators on the HSOH synthesis project included Josef Hahn, Gisbert Winnewisser, and Sven Thorwirth at the University of Cologne, and Jürgen Gauss at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

Behnke, now a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State, explained that HSOH is considered a "missing link" molecule. With its mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, it exists somewhere between simple, sulfur-free molecules such as hydrogen peroxide and more complex molecules like sulfuric acid.

In his symposium presentation this week, Behnke reported the first detailed spectroscopic identification of HSOH using FASSST.

The molecule was very difficult to study, because it exists only in extreme conditions: it is created during combustion at very high temperatures, but it breaks down unless it can be transferred quickly to an environment with very low temperature and pressure, such as the upper atmosphere. In addition, the chemical reaction that creates HSOH creates many other similar molecules at the same time.

Given those circumstances, synthesizing HSOH and recording its spectrum in the laboratory wasn’t so much like looking for a needle in a haystack as "looking for an ant somewhere in Canada," Behnke said.

The Ohio State physicists were able to create the molecule in a high-temperature chemical reaction -- approximately 1100°C (2000°F), and used FASSST to image the spectrum.

Scientists could one day use information about HSOH to better understand combustion, atmospheric pollution, and interstellar chemistry.

"This is very fundamental research," Behnke said, "but knowing the structure of simple molecules like HSOH could give us the foundation to understand more complex molecules later."

The National Science Foundation funded this work.

#

Contact: Markus Behnke, (614) 292-1971; Behnke.14@osu.edu
Frank De Lucia, (614) 688-4774; Delucia.2@osu.edu

Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

Markus Behnke | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu/
http://www.nsf.gov/
http://molspect.mps.ohio-state.edu/symposium/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>