Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

International First: Gas-phase Carbonic Acid Isolated

11.01.2011
A team of chemists headed by Thomas Loerting from the University of Innsbruck and Hinrich Grothe from the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) in Austria have prepared and isolated gas-phase carbonic acid and have succeeded in characterizing the gas-phase molecules by using infrared spectroscopy. The results were published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

In textbooks and other media the widespread belief still prevails that stable carbonic acid cannot be produced in pure form and is practically non-existent as it immediately decomposes to carbon dioxide and water. However, Innsbruck chemists headed by Erwin Mayer (Institute of General, Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry) refuted this persistent dogma in chemistry several years ago.


In the tail of comets and other celestial bodies or astrophysical environments scientist suggest the existence of gas-phase carbonic acid, here comet Hale-Bopp. Photo: E. Kolmhofer, H. Raab; Johannes-Kepler-Observatory, Linz, Austria


Innsbruck scientists were first in producing two types of carbonic acid crystals. (Photo: Uni Innsbruck)

They belong to only a handful of scientists who have prepared pure solid carbonic acid experimentally. In an international first, the scientists have now produced gas-phase carbonic acid and, together with a research group headed by Hinrich Grothe at the Vienna University of Technology, they have also succeeded in proofing the existence of these molecules.

“Carbonic acid vapor is composed of at least three different species in the gas-phase: a cyclic dimer consisting of two molecules and two different types of monomers,“ explains Thomas Loerting (Institute of Physical Chemistry) the result of the comprehensive study.

Surprising result

For this experiment the researchers prepared carbonic acid in the laboratory in Innsbruck. It was then stored in liquid nitrogen and transported to Vienna by PhD student Jürgen Bernard. At the Institute of Materials Chemistry at the TU Wien the solid carbonic acid was warmed to minus 30 degrees Celsius. “During this process the carbonic acid molecules entered the gas-phase,“ says Loerting. This is a surprising result because many experts in the field believed that carbonic acid immediately decomposes to carbon dioxide and water. The Austrian scientists trapped the carbonic acid vapor in a solid matrix of the inert gas argon and cooled it down. “This produced a frozen image of the carbonic acid vapor, which we analyzed by using high-resolution infrared spectroscopy at the TU Wien,“ says Hinrich Grothe. “The spectrum we produced is extremely precise and we were able to assign the spectral bands to the vibration of each single molecule.“ For more than a decade, the chemists have been supported in their experimental research by Klaus Liedl from the Institute of Theoretical Chemistry in Innsbruck. His team of scientists has helped to interpret the experimental data with computational models. Additional calculations have been performed by Oscar Galvez from CSIC Madrid (Spanish National Research Council).

Infrared spectra in research

This experiment not only is of high importance for basic research but also for astronomy. The identification of gas-phase carbonic acid in the atmosphere of celestial bodies may be facilitated by the detailed spectra of gas-phase carbonic acid described in this study. “Conditions in space environments suggest that gas-phase carbonic acid may be found in the coma of comets or the poles of Mars,“ says Thomas Loerting. “However, infrared spectra currently measured in extraterrestrial environments are still too imprecise to be comparable to the results produced in our laboratory.“

The team of chemists headed by Loerting and Liedl are members of the research platform Advanced Materials of the University of Innsbruck and are supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the European Research Council (ERC). The chemists in Vienna supervised by H. Grothe participate in the TU Wien Materials Research Cluster and are supported by the Austrian Exchange Service (ÖAD).

Contact:
Univ. Prof. Dr. Thomas Loerting
Institute of Physical Chemistry
University of Innsbruck
Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Phone: +43 512 507 5062
Email: Thomas.Loerting@uibk.ac.at
http://homepage.uibk.ac.at/~c724117/
Univ. Prof. Dr. Hinrich Grothe
Institute of Materials Chemistry
Vienna University of Technology
Lehargasse 2-4, 1060 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 1 58801 165122
Email: grothe@tuwien.ac.at
http://www.imc.tuwien.ac.at
Weitere Informationen:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201004729 - Spectroscopic Observation of Gas-Phase Carbonic Acid Isolated in Matrix. Jürgen Bernard, Markus Seidl, Ingrid Kohl, Klaus Liedl, Erwin Mayer, Oscar Gálvez, Hinrich Grothe, Thomas Loerting. Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:
http://www.imc.tuwien.ac.at

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>