PerspectiveOrganic Chemistry

Catching an Elusive Cation

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Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 756-757
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.756

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Summary

To understand chemical reactions, one must understand reaction intermediates, short-lived species formed transiently as the molecules come together, rearrange, and separate again. In an accompanying Perspective, Prakash discusses spectroscopic work reported in the same issue by de Rege et al. (p. 776) on their observation of the formyl cation as a long-lived ion in the condensed phase. Study of this cation, an important intermediate in the chemistry of aromatic compounds, was made possible by the development of a technique for nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy at high pressures.