Experimental Detection of Tetranitrogen

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 480-481
DOI: 10.1126/science.1067681

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Tetranitrogen (N4), which has been the subject of great theoretical interest, has been prepared from the N4 + cation and positively detected as a gaseous metastable molecule with a lifetime exceeding 1 microsecond in experiments based on neutralization-reionization mass spectrometry. An examination of the geometry of N4 + and the fragmentation pattern of the14N2 15N2 neutral molecule has revealed that the latter is characterized by an open-chain geometry with two distinct, closely bound N2 units joined by a longer weaker bond.

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