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Environment

New Routes To Elusive Perbromate Unveiled

by Jyllian Kemsley
August 1, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 31

Synthesis of perbromate, BrO4, has confounded chemists for generations, but recent work shows that the anion can be prepared in a straightforward way from sodium hypobromite (NaOBr) solutions (Inorg. Chem., DOI: 10.1021/ic201329q). Historically, scientists had the most success preparing BrO4– by oxidizing bromate (BrO3) with F2 or XeF2. Taking a cue from research on the formation of perchlorate in sodium hypochlorite solutions, a team led by Aleksey N. Pisarenko of Southern Nevada Water Authority investigated whether similar chemistry involving BrO could yield BrO4. The researchers found that in a concentrated alkaline NaOBr solution some BrO readily decomposed to BrO3. The BrO3 then reacted with remaining BrO to form BrO4. The team monitored BrO4 production by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry and further discovered that the mass spectrometer’s electrospray ionization process also oxidized BrO3 to BrO4. Having relatively easy, safe methods for BrO4 synthesis could enable more in-depth studies of the anion’s chemistry and toxicity, as well as BrO4 contamination in water disinfected with BrO solutions, Pisarenko says.

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