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Discovery of Oxygen Fluorides of Coin Metals

Researchers at Freie Universität Berlin Find Experimental Access to Long-sought Class of Compounds

№ 056/2018 from Mar 28, 2018

Scientists at Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Virginia (USA) have experimentally generated and characterized a long-sought class of compounds, so-called ternary compounds, which consist of three elements: oxygen, fluorine, and a so-called late-transition metal. The transition metals include the coin metals copper, silver, and gold. Ternary oxygen fluorides of the early transition metals up to the elements of the iron group in the periodic table of the elements – iron, ruthenium, and osmium – have long been known. However, up to now it was not possible to convert the late transition metals beyond the iron group in the periodic table into the corresponding oxygen fluorides. The researchers at Freie Universität led by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Hasenstab-Riedel from the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the American team were able to demonstrate the difficulties in discovering and characterizing this class of compounds. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.

According to the scientists, earlier attempts to synthesize these new compounds failed because they do not – as would be expected – show strong metal-oxygen double bonds, but instead exist as highly reactive, free radical compounds. For this reason the new compounds were isolated at very low temperatures (minus 268 degrees Celsius) in so-called noble gas matrices and characterized spectroscopically. Based on highly accurate quantum chemical calculations, the unusual nature of the chemical bonds could then be further investigated. From the results, the scientists hope to gain new insights into how oxygen atoms can be transferred between different molecules in biological or catalytic processes. The new compounds can also serve as model compounds for the transfer of oxygen in chemical reactions.

More Information

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Hasenstab-Riedel, Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-54071 and -59860, Email: s.riedel@fu-berlin.de


Lin Li, Tony Stüker, Stefanie Kieninger, Dirk Andrae, Tobias Schlöder, Yu Gong, Lester Andrews, Helmut Beckers, and Sebastian Riedel: "Oxygen Radical Character in Group 11 Oxygen Fluorides," Nature Communications, 2018, DOI (DOI : 10.1038/s41467‐018‐03630‐0).