Harnessing the Power of Diatomics

Science  11 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5481, pp. 882-883
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5481.882

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When a diatomic molecule is broken up into its constituent atoms, these very energetic atoms provide a large driving force for further reaction. Diatomic molecules often do not undergo productive chemistry, however, because the energy needed to break the diatomic bond is also high. In his Perspective, Thorp discusses the work by MacBeth et al., who have synthesized a nonheme iron complex that reacts with Oto produce two equivalents of a metal-oxo complex. The complex elegantly mimic the ability of some enzymes to influence metal ion coordination spheres.