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Taming Extremely Reactive Chemicals

Anna Gudmundsdottir, a professor of chemistry, in her lab at the University of Cincinnati

Anna Gudmundsdottir, a professor of chemistry, in her lab at the University of Cincinnati (UC). Gudmundsdottir and a team of researchers work to tame the extremely reactive chemicals known as radicals--atoms, molecules or ions that frantically try to become something else.

"Triplet nitrenes are reactive intermediates with high spin," Gudmundsdottir said. "You have a nitrogen molecule that has two unpaired electrons on it. We discovered they were actually very stable for intermediates. They live for milliseconds and that's when we got into this idea--can we make them stable enough for various investigations?"

The high spin Gudmundsdottir describes suggests that triplet nitrenes, for example, might be ideal candidates for creating organic magnets that are lighter, more flexible and energy-intensive than conventional metal or ceramic magnets.

To learn more about this research, which was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation, see the UC news story Light unlocks fragrance in UC laboratory. (Date of Image: August 2011)

Credit: University of Cincinnati

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