Research CommentariesCHEMICAL REACTIONS

Selective Chemistry Redux

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Science  06 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5352, pp. 820-821
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5352.820

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Selective chemistry has been a long-sought goal: The aim is to put energy into a molecule and have only selected bonds break, resulting in chemical reactions tailored to create desired products. As Oref discusses in his research commentary, the energy in a bond usually relaxes so quickly that the bond can never be broken selectively. However, results reported in the same issue by Diau et al. show that if the energy is selectively inserted on ultrashort time scales, the bond that is excited is the bond that breaks.