Issue Date: November 17, 2008
Heavy Formaldehyde Analog Characterized
Unsubstituted silanethione (H2Si=S), the second-row-element analog of formaldehyde (H2C=O), has been characterized experimentally for the first time (Chem. Commun. 2008, 5292). Inorganic chemists have investigated the silanethione family of compounds (RR′Si=S) to study multiple bonding between group 14 and group 16 elements. But up to now, the search for the parent compound H2Si=S had failed. An international research team led by Sven Thorwirth of the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, in Bonn, Germany, produced silanethione by passing a low-current electric discharge through a mixture of silane (SiH4) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) diluted in neon. Aided by computational studies, the researchers detected H2Si=S by Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy. They have used this technique before to characterize transient second-row clusters such as Si3 and S3. The combination of theoretical data and newly acquired spectral data on H2Si=S will help scientists in using radio telescopes to search for the compound in outer space, Thorwirth and colleagues note.
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