Spectroscopic Observation of the Formyl Cation in a Condensed Phase

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Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 776-779
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.776

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The formyl cation, HCO+, has long been believed to be an important intermediate in the chemistry of carbon monoxide (CO) in acidic environments, but its spectroscopic observation in solution has been elusive. This species was generated by the reaction of CO with the liquid superacid hydrofluoric acid–antimony pentafluoride (HF-SbF5) under pressure and was observed by nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopy. Equilibria between CO in the gas phase, CO dissolved in HF-SbF5, the SbF5 adduct of formyl fluoride, and HCO+associated with several equilibrating anions of the type [SbxF5x+1]are proposed to describe the system.

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