Author Archive

Identification of a simplest hypervalent hydrogen fluoride anion.

Friday, December 8th, 2017
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An article with the title shown above in part recently appeared.[1] Given the apparent similarity of HF1- to CH3F1- and CH3F2-, the latter of which I introduced on this blog previously, I thought it of interest to apply my analysis to HF1-.

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References

  1. M. Liu, H. Chen, C. Chin, T. Huang, Y. Chen, and Y. Wu, "Identification of a Simplest Hypervalent Hydrogen Fluoride Anion in Solid Argon", Scientific Reports, vol. 7, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-02687-z

FAIR data ⇌ Raw data.

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
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FAIR data is increasingly accepted as a description of what research data should aspire to; Findable, Accessible, Inter-operable and Re-usable, with Context added by rich metadata (and also that it should be Open). But there are two sides to data, one of which is the raw data emerging from say an instrument or software simulations and the other in which some kind of model is applied to produce semi- or even fully processed/interpreted data. Here I illustrate a new example of how both kinds of data can be made to co-exist.

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A form of life that can stably store genetic information using a six-letter, three-base-pair alphabet?

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
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For around 16 years, Floyd Romesberg’s group has been exploring un-natural alternatives (UBPs) to the Watson-Crick base pairs (C-G and A-T) that form part of the genetic code in DNA. Recently they have had remarkable success with one such base pair, called X and Y (for the press) and dNaMTP and d5SICSTP (in scholarly articles).[1],[2] This extends the genetic coding from the standard 20 amino acids to the possibility of up to 172 amino acids. Already, organisms engineered to contain X-Y pairs in their DNA have been shown to express entirely new (and un-natural) proteins.

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References

  1. A.W. Feldman, M.P. Ledbetter, Y. Zhang, and F.E. Romesberg, "Reply to Hettinger: Hydrophobic unnatural base pairs and the expansion of the genetic alphabet", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114, pp. E6478-E6479, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708259114
  2. D.A. Malyshev, K. Dhami, H.T. Quach, T. Lavergne, P. Ordoukhanian, A. Torkamani, and F.E. Romesberg, "Efficient and sequence-independent replication of DNA containing a third base pair establishes a functional six-letter genetic alphabet", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 109, pp. 12005-12010, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1205176109

Octet expansion and hypervalence in dimethylidyne-λ6-sulfane.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
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I started this story by looking at octet expansion and hypervalence in non-polar hypercoordinate species such as S(-CH3)6, then moved on to S(=CH2)3. Finally now its the turn of S(≡CH)2.

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Hypervalence and octet-expansion in trimethylene-λ6-sulfane and related species.

Monday, November 27th, 2017
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Previously: “Non-polar” species such as SeMe6, SMe6, ClMe3, ClMe5 all revealed interesting properties for the Se-C, S-C or Cl-C “single” bonds. The latter two examples in particular hinted at internal structures for these single bonds, as manifested by two ELF basins for some of the bonds. Here I take a look at the related molecule where a formal double bond between carbon and the central sulfur atom replacing the single-bond might also hint at octet expansions and hypervalence.

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Hypervalence and octet-expansion in sulfur hexafluoride.

Monday, November 20th, 2017
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Following on from discussing octet expansion in species such as SeMe6, ClMe3 and ClMe5, I felt impelled to return to SF6, often used as an icon for hypervalence.

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PIDapalooza 2018: the open festival for persistent identifiers.

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
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PIDapalooza is a new forum concerned with discussing all things persistent, hence PID. You might wonder what possible interest a chemist might have in such an apparently arcane subject, but think of it in terms of how to find the proverbial needle in a haystack in a time when needles might look all very similar. Even needles need descriptions, they are not all alike and PIDs are a way of providing high quality information (metadata) about a digital object.  

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VSEPR Theory: Octet-busting or not with trimethyl chlorine, ClMe3.

Sunday, November 12th, 2017
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A few years back, I took a look at the valence-shell electron pair repulsion approach to the geometry of chlorine trifluoride, ClF3 using so-called ELF basins to locate centroids for both the covalent F-Cl bond electrons and the chlorine lone-pair electrons. Whereas the original VSEPR theory talks about five “electron pairs” totalling an octet-busting ten electrons surrounding chlorine, the electron density-based ELF approach located only ~6.8e surrounding the central chlorine and no “octet-busting”. The remaining electrons occupied fluorine lone pairs rather than the shared Cl-F regions. Here I take a look at ClMe3, as induced by the analysis of SeMe6.

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Hypervalence revisited. The odd case of hexamethyl selenium.

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
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One thread that runs through this blog is that of hypervalency. It was therefore nice to come across a recent review of the concept[1] which revisits the topic, and where a helpful summary is given of the evolving meanings over time of the term hypervalent. The key phrase “it soon became clear that the two principles of the 2-centre-2-electron bond and the octet rule were sometimes in conflict” succinctly summarises the issue. Two molecules that are discussed in this review caught my eye, CLi6 and SeMe6. The former is stated as “anomalous in terms of the Lewis model“, but as I have shown in an earlier post, the carbon is in fact not anomalous in a Lewis sense because of a large degree of Li-Li bonding. When this is taken into account, the Lewis model of the carbon becomes more “normal”. Here I take a look at the other cited molecule, SeMe6.

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References

  1. M.C. Durrant, "A quantitative definition of hypervalency", Chemical Science, vol. 6, pp. 6614-6623, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5sc02076j

Elongating an N-B single bond is much easier than stretching a C-C single bond.

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017
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An N-B single bond is iso-electronic to a C-C single bond, as per below. So here is a simple question: what form does the distribution of the lengths of these two bonds take, as obtained from crystal structures? 

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