CHEMISTRY: Carbon Chain Gangs

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1365c
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1365c

Polymeric carbon chains consisting of sp-hybridized carbon—called carbynes or polyynes—have attracted the attention of researchers because of their unusual physical and chemical properties and their potential applications in molecular electronics and catalysis. However, these compounds are often unstable or even explosive and can be difficult to isolate. Dembinski et al. have performed a systematic study of the synthesis and physical characteristics of a series of polyynes with chains of 6 to 20 carbon atoms. The chains are sandwiched between two rhenium complexes, in contrast to earlier work in which the end groups on the chains contained carbon or silicon. The compounds constitute an unprecedented series of organo-transition metal complexes linked by the simplest pure-carbon connecting unit. The use of bulky electropositive end groups, which complement the somewhat electronegative sp carbon terminus, likely contribute to the relative stability of the compounds.—JU

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 122, 810 (2000).

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