In a first for the chemistry of nitrogen, researchers have detected the high-energy compound trinitramide, N(NO2)3, which until now has only been studied in theoretical contexts (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., DOI: 10.1002/anie.201007047). Martin Rahm, Tore Brinck, and colleagues at the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, carefully nitrated ammonium dinitramide or potassium dinitramide at very low temperatures and detected trinitramide in both reactions by infrared and NMR spectroscopy. They also performed calculations to evaluate how trinitramide might decompose and to estimate some of trinitramide’s properties, such as density and heat of formation. The researchers suggest that trinitramide might be useful as a component of rocket propellants. Thomas M. Klapötke, an expert on nitrogen-rich compounds at Ludwig Maximilian University, in Munich, praised the discovery but says he isn’t sure that trinitramide will replace established propellant ingredients. Easily storable components are needed most, and it’s not clear that trinitramide will be stable above cryogenic temperatures, Klapötke says.