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Scientists can now create and break different chemical bonds

different chemical bonds

Researchers have used a variety of techniques to apply voltages directly to individual bonds between atoms in a molecule, breaking them to allow for new bonds.

The journal Science published a study on the technique titled "Selectivity in single-molecule reactions by tip-induced redox chemistry."

Researchers from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) used a scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) instrument to map the positions of individual atoms in single molecules, to which voltages can then be applied. The researchers used a razor-sharp tip only a few atoms wide to apply voltages to the bonds between atoms in a molecule, breaking them and allowing new bonds to form.

Scientists can now create and break different chemical bonds

"It is unprecedented and extremely appealing to chemists to be able to control the course of a chemical reaction depending on the voltage pulses used. Previous experiments involved tip-controlled reactions, but the outcome was uncontrolled. The key component in this system is selectivity, which allows us to form and break various internal bonds at will depending on the polarity and magnitude of the voltage pulses "KAUST's Shadi Fatayer said.

Tetrachlorotetracene, a molecule the research team examined, is made up of four chlorine atoms bound to four hexagonal rings of carbon that are connected in a straight line. A 3.5V pulse applied to the molecule caused two chlorine atoms to be removed, which caused the molecule to rearrange.

The final two chlorine atoms were removed by raising the voltage of the applied current, which led to additional rearrangements and three different final products. By carefully choosing which bonds were broken to produce different end products, the researchers were able to switch the voltage between these two end products.

Source: doi.orgphys.org.

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