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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland

nachricht Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental 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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>