Superacids--It's a Lot About Anions

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Science  07 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5476, pp. 72-73
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5476.72

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Superacids are powerful agents for protonating weak bases, with applications ranging from synthetic chemistry to batteries and fuel cells. DesMarteau explains in his Perspective that many superacids have undesirable properties, because after proton donation, the resulting anion may interact strongly with the protonated base or the solvent. Reed et al. report the discovery of a superacid that overcomes this problem. In the anion, charge is distributed efficiently over many atoms, reducing unwanted interactions.