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Synthesis

A new ‘sulflower’ has bloomed

Persulfurated coronene joins octathio[8]circulene as the second member of a new class of carbon sulfide compounds

by Stephen K. Ritter
February 13, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 7

It’s a good day for a chemist when you synthesize a new compound, it has a cute structure, and you get to pick a name for it. That was the case for a team of chemists in Russia a decade ago when they synthesized octathio[8]circulene, a new form of carbon sulfide. The researchers called the molecule a “sulflower”—a mash-up of sulfur and flower—for its heterocyclic structure resembling a sunflower blossom. Chemists have been eager to create other members of this class of compounds, including the simplest one, persulfurated benzene. But no one has had the good fortune to do so, until now. A team led by Xinliang Feng of Dresden University of Technology and Klaus Müllen of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research has succeeded in preparing what it considers the next generation of sulflower: persulfurated coronene. It’s the first fully sulfur-substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b12630). The researchers grew their sulflower in a multistep chlorination/sulfurization process starting with coronene. The sulfur-rich character of the new compound renders it a promising cathode material for lithium-sulfur batteries, the researchers say, and it could pave the way to preparing graphene with persulfurated edges, which would be useful in electronic and superconducting applications.

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