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Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Color splash

by Brianna Barbu
February 2, 2023


Credit: Maciej Majdecki

Even routine reactions can turn into dazzling displays if they’re done under ultraviolet light and involve fluorescent molecules. This video opens on a round-bottom flask with softly glowing pink crystals, a mixture of a zinc salt and an organic ligand nudged into a ring by a rotating stir bar. Then, a burst of yellowish green appears as liquid 1,2-dichloroethane is added to the mix, the solvent steadily flowing in rivulets down the sides of the flask to engulf the solids. Once the stir bar has done its job blending everything together, the result is an orange-yellow liquid containing the final product: a brand-new organozinc compound.

The person responsible for the video, and the reaction it captures, is Maciej Majdecki, a postdoc at the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who says fluorescent molecules are his passion. He synthesized the zinc complex as part of a library of organometallic compounds with various metals and ligand structures, aiming to study how each of those factors impacts the molecules’ photophysical properties.

Submitted by Maciej Majdecki. Follow him on Twitter @MajdeckiMaciek or Instagram @luminescent_chemist.

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