Nomenclature Lesson | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 49 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: December 7, 2009

Nomenclature Lesson

Department: Letters

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THE ARTICLE ON N23– ends with the question as to how the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) will name this radical (C&EN, July 27, page 13). The answer can be found in the "2005 IUPAC Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry," or in "Names for Inorganic Radicals" (IUPAC Recommendations 2000), although, indeed, in both references this radical is not listed.

The philosophy is not to name every compound in existence or to be discovered, but to provide a few rules that enable one to name—one hopes—all these compounds. This requires only a small amount of work: analogous to the systematic name of dioxide(•1–) for O2 •–, also known by its unsystematic, but venerable, name of superoxide, N23– is named dinitride(•3–). The use of the prefix "di" and the suffix "ide" is clear: The dot indicates that we are dealing with a radical, and the charge is indicated. "Supernitride" is definitely out. A fancier name can be derived from hydrazine (diazane) by amputation of 3H+ and one H: diazantriidyl. That did not hurt, did it?

Willem H. Koppenol
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich

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