Reaction & Synthesis

Researchers form quintuple bond

Jan 05, 2006

Chemists at the University of California, Davis, have created what they claim is the first stable compound to contain a quintuple bond. Produced as dark red crystals, the chromium-based compound is stable at room temperature but decomposes in the presence of water and spontaneously ignites when exposed to air.

Certain metals theoretically are capable of more than triple bonds, which is the limit for carbon, explained Philip Power, professor of chemistry at the school. To make crystals with the quintuple bond, Power and graduate student Tailuan Nguyen attached large carbon-based molecules to chromium atoms to limit how the atoms could behave. The researches then coaxed the chromium atoms into bonding with each other. X-ray crystallography and magnetic measurements confirmed the quintuple bonding.

As far as is known, no comparable compound exists in nature, notes Power.