First time seeing carbon can bond with 6 other atoms

A pyramid-shaped carbon molecule has just been studied for the first time, and it’s remarkable that it’s nothing like what we’ve learned in basic programming. This molecule contains one carbon atom, bonded to 6 other atoms instead of 4.

We know that atoms form molecules by sharing electrons. Carbon has four electrons that can be shared with other atoms. But under certain conditions, carbon can go beyond this limit, according to Moritz Malischewski, a chemist at Freie University Berlin. It was he who synthesized and studied this molecule, called hexamethylbenzene . Typically, the compound is shaped like the rudder of a ship, which consists of six carbon atoms arranged at the tops of a hexagon.

First time seeing carbon can bond with 6 other atoms
Carbon atom with 6 possible bonds.

In an experiment conducted in 1973, German chemists removed two electrons from the compound, then hypothesized that the structure of a positively charged version C 6 (CH 3 ) 62 + will be broken, forming a new structure with a pyramid shape. In this state, there are six electrons available to bond the top of the pyramid to the remaining five carbon atoms, Malischewski explained.

However, there has not been another test to confirm this information, to this day. It’s an anomaly, and that structure exists only at low temperatures, in strongly acidic liquids. So Malischewski spent six months tinkering with a strong acid solution to produce this particular compound, then took a few milligrams of the crystal and observed it with X-rays.

X-ray diffraction patterns show that the molecule is indeed a five-sided pyramid. Quantum measurements and other experiments have shown that a carbon atom with six bonds can exist , but the newly discovered crystal structure is the strongest evidence to support those doubts, according to the report. Dean Tantillo at the University of California, Davis.

“It sheds light on the nature of bonding and the limits of our understanding of organic chemical structure,” he said. Under normal conditions of temperature and humidity, the molecule would break down. instant, so it doesn’t appear to have any practical applications, like producing a new type of carbon nanotube, but Malischewski said he was intrigued by the question of whether the molecule “It’s all just a story of challenges that amaze chemists by what’s possible,” he said.