Posts Tagged ‘Jahn-Teller’

Ammonide: an alkalide formed from ammonia and resembling an electride.

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Alkalides are anionic alkali compounds containing e.g. sodide (Na), kalide (K), rubidide (Rb) or caeside (Cs). Around 90 examples can be found in the Cambridge structure database (see DOI: 10.14469/hpc/3453  for the search query and results). So what about the ammonium analogue, ammonide (NH4)? A quick search of Scifinder drew a blank! So here I take a look at this intriguingly simple little molecule.


Expanding on the curious connection between the norbornyl cation and small-ring aromatics.

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

This is another of those posts that has morphed from an earlier one noting the death of the great chemist George Olah. The discussion about the norbornyl cation concentrated on whether this species existed in a single minimum symmetric energy well (the non-classical Winstein/Olah proposal) or a double minimum well connected by a symmetric transition state (the classical Brown proposal). In a comment on the post, I added other examples in chemistry of single/double minima, mapped here to non-classical/classical structures. I now expand on the examples related to small aromatic or anti-aromatic rings.


Discovering chemical concepts from crystal structure statistics: The Jahn-Teller effect

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

I am on a mission to persuade my colleagues that the statistical analysis of crystal structures is a useful teaching tool.  One colleague asked for a demonstration and suggested exploring the classical Jahn-Teller effect (thanks Milo!). This is a geometrical distortion associated with certain molecular electronic configurations, of which the best example is illustrated by octahedral copper complexes which have a d9 electronic configuration. The eg level shown below is occupied by three electrons and which can therefore distort in one of two ways to eliminate the eg degeneracy by placing the odd electron into either a x2-y2 or a z2 orbital. Here I explore how this effect can be teased out of crystal structures.


Following one’s nose: a quadruple bond to carbon. Surely I must be joking!

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Do you fancy a story going from simplicity to complexity, if not absurdity, in three easy steps? Read on! The following problem appears in one of our (past) examination questions in introductory organic chemistry. From relatively mundane beginnings, one can rapidly find oneself in very unexpected territory.