Surprisingly, chemists find, some solvents can alter chemical bonds

Jul 24, 2007

New University at Buffalo research demonstrates that some solvents can significantly enhance certain acid-base interactions and strengthen the bonding interaction between two molecules when one is electron-deficient and one is electron-rich.

The research, published recently in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A, suggests a potentially powerful new tool for initiating these interactions, which occur in many important inorganic cluster complexes, including biological enzymes.

“Any time a chemist can focus chemistry at a particular bond and find a new way to weaken chemical bonds in order to initiate chemical reactions, that gives you leverage,” said James F. Garvey, Ph.D., UB professor of chemistry and a co-author on the paper.

According to the UB researchers, solvent molecules surrounding Lewis acid-base complexes can significantly affect the strength of chemical bonds within that complex.

Lewis acids are molecules that act as electron-pair acceptors, while a Lewis base molecule will act as an electron-pair donor; the base donates electron density to the acid to form an acid-base complex.

“What was surprising was our observation that solvation made that interaction stronger, inducing the base to donate more electron density to the acid, thereby strengthening the bonding interaction,” said Garvey.

In the UB studies, the solvent reaction actually changed the nature of the carbon-nitrogen bond between the Lewis acid (a benzene radical cation) and the Lewis base (ammonia).

“We found that when the chemical bond is generated by the mechanism of electron transfer, microsolvation can play a tremendous role in effecting the nature of that bond,” said Garvey.

The experimental results were generated through molecular-beam studies of gas-phase ions using a tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer and were supported by calculations performed at UB’s Center for Computational Research in the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

Source: University at Buffalo

Explore further: Researchers open possible avenue to better electrolyte for lithium ion batteries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fingers pointed as climate talks deadlock

2 hours ago

Accusations flew at deadlocked UN climate talks in Lima on Saturday, as the United States warned that failure to compromise could doom the 22-year-old global forum.

Fun cryptography app pleases students and teachers

12 hours ago

Up on Google Play this week is Cryptoy...something that you might want to check out if you or someone you know wishes entry into the world of cryptography via an educational and fun app. You learn more about ciphers and keys; you ...

Recommended for you

'Global positioning' for molecules

Dec 19, 2014

In everyday life, the global positioning system (GPS) can be employed to reliably determine the momentary location of one en route to the desired destination. Scientists from the Institute of Physical and ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.