Clever way to break the nitrogen-nitrogen bond

New reaction cleaves dinitrogen, brings carbon and nitrogen together

1:01pm, December 13, 2010

To break some chemical bonds you need to know a guy, who knows a guy who knows a compound. Scientists ordered just such a hit and have broken two of the toughest bonds in chemistry in the laboratory equivalent of broad daylight. The reaction yields a new chemical connection and could lead to more direct routes for making various drugs or other biologically important compounds.

In the new work, a metal complex and carbon monoxide conspire to cleave the triple bond that connects two nitrogen atoms, one of nature’s strongest chemical bonds. Busting apart bonded nitrogen has always been a daunting task. Even when accomplished, it hasn’t necessarily yielded useful products.

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