The task of discovering and characterizing materials is of central importance to all industrial needs in the modern age of chemical engineering. Pharmaceutical companies use this as a starting point in developing a portfolio of drug candidates. The plastics industry is constantly experimenting with new polymer composites in the quest to develop tougher materials for a wide range of applications from airplanes to 3D-printers to smart fabrics designed for military use. And the FDA is essentially an organization concerned with establishing a profile of all foods and drugs in terms of mapping out processing and characterizing each product in a myriad of ways so as to identify any possible sources of harm to humans and the environment.
Ruthenium compounds have attracted attention from researchers over the past two decades as they have been found to demonstrate properties conducive to more efficient industrial catalysis – converting compounds during processing faster and with less energy use. With promising findings comes the need for more researchers to build off of initial experiments employing pioneering synthetic pathways. And so, the team at the Coppens Lab located at SUNY Buffalo developed a new synthetic route to construct a ruthenium dimer containing nitrosyl (NO) ligands that form a double bridge structure between the two ruthenium atoms that also possess two cyclopentadiene ligands (hydrocarbon rings) emanating outwards from each ruthenium atom.
Crystals were grown of the new compound and characterized using x-ray diffraction techniques that exploit the fact that laser beams are diffracted by the array of electrons contained in a crystal in such a way that mathematical formulae can be employed to establish probabilistic mappings of each atom in the molecule being studied. The image shown below is of the new compound with the arduously technical name:
This name, while seemingly overly complicated, is actually a very clear and precise way of naming a compound that tells scientists familiar with the prefixes and suffixes the precise connectivity and nature of each section of the molecule. And if it seems Greek to you, that’s because some of it is!
It is our hope that with this foundation of knowledge laid, more work can be done to further explore the properties of this new compound and determine if it can be put to some useful purpose whether it be as a more efficient industrial catalyst, a molecular information storage device, or something as of yet not imagined…
Citation: Pearsal, Matthew, et al. “Di-mu-nitrosyl-bis [(eta (5)-pentamethylcyclopentadienyl) ruthenium (0)](Ru-Ru)(vol E63, pg m2596, 2007).” Acta Crystallographica Section E-Structure Reports Online 66 (2010): E25-E25.