Researchers discover hydrogen can form multicenter bonds

Dec 04, 2006

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have shown that, under the right circumstances, hydrogen can form multicenter bonds, where one hydrogen atom simultaneously bonds to as many as four or six other atoms. Tested for hydrogen in metal oxides, the discovery could have a broad range of technological impact.

The research is available today in the advance online publication of Nature Materials.

Professor Chris G. Van de Walle and Project Scientist Anderson Janotti, both of the Materials Department of the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara, have shown that multi-coordinated hydrogen is a likely explanation for electronic conductivity in metal oxides. Metal oxides are widely used in everything from sunscreen to sensors.

Hydrogen, the simplest of the elements (consisting of one proton and one electron) is typically expected to exhibit simple chemistry when forming molecules or solids. Hydrogen atoms almost always form a single bond to just one other atom, leading to a two-center bond with two electrons. Exceptions to the rule are rare; there are only a few cases when hydrogen bonds simultaneously to two other atoms, forming a three-center bond.

Hydrogen can replace an oxygen atom and form a multicenter bond with adjacent metal atoms. For example, in ZnO, hydrogen equally bonds to the four surrounding Zn atoms, becoming fourfold coordinated. These multicenter bonds are highly stable and explain previously puzzling variations in conductivity as a function of temperature and oxygen pressure. The results suggest that hydrogen can be used as a substitutional dopant in oxides, a concept that is counterintuitive and should be of wide interest to researchers.

Source: University of California - Santa Barbara

Explore further: Working group explores the 'frustration' of spin glasses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Water molecules favor negative charges

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —In the presence of charged substances, H2O molecules favor associating with elements with a negative electrical charge rather than a positive electric charge. EPFL researchers have published ...

Directly visualizing hydrogen bonds

Jul 15, 2014

Using a newly developed, ultrafast femtosecond infrared light source, chemists at the University of Chicago have been able to directly visualize the coordinated vibrations between hydrogen-bonded molecules—the ...

Boron 'buckyball' discovered

Jul 13, 2014

The discovery 30 years ago of soccer-ball-shaped carbon molecules called buckyballs helped to spur an explosion of nanotechnology research. Now, there appears to be a new ball on the pitch.

Molecular snapshots of oxygen formation in photosynthesis

Jul 11, 2014

Researchers from Umeå University, Sweden, have explored two different ways that allow unprecedented experimental insights into the reaction sequence leading to the formation of oxygen molecules in photosynthesis. ...

Recommended for you

New study refines biological evolution model

19 hours ago

Models for the evolution of life are now being developed to try and clarify the long term dynamics of an evolving system of species. Specifically, a recent model proposed by Petri Kärenlampi from the University ...

Production phase for LSST camera sensors nears

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A single sensor for the world's largest digital camera detected light making its way through wind, air turbulence, and Earth's atmosphere, successfully converting the light into a glimpse of ...

User comments : 0