Lewis acid strength, aka the alacrity with which a chemical species accepts electrons, is an important factor in the way that the compound will react. But unlike Brønsted acidity, the ability of an acid to donate a proton, Lewis acidity is difficult to measure quantitatively. The bright green glow of a fluorescent dithienophosphole probe being developed at York University, here shown diffusing into dichloromethane, may give chemists a simple, bench-accessible handle on this important facet of acid-base chemistry.
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