Molecular rings mystery solved after 20 years

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Posted April 17, 2013
The two benzene rings in a benzene dimer can have one of two configurations: flat on top of one another (left) or one flat and the other upright on top (right).

The two benzene rings in a benzene dimer can have one of two configurations: flat on top of one another (left) or one flat and the other upright on top (right).

Although the double benzene molecule tried to reveal its structure in experiments in 1993, chemists at the time were unable to find an explanation for the spectral peaks they saw. Now, 20 years later, Nijmegen theoretical chemist Prof. Ad van der Avoird has come up with a theory that exactly describes the position of two benzene rings in relation to one another and their possible motion. Together with colleague Prof. Gerard Meijer and an experimental group in Berlin, he will publish the model in a ‘Very Important Paper’ in Angewandte Chemie International Edition on April 15.

The two benzene rings in a benzene dimer can have one of two configurations: flat on top of one another (left) or one flat and the other upright on top (right).

The two benzene rings in a benzene dimer can have one of two configurations: flat on top of one another (left) or one flat and the other upright on top (right).

Benzene is a molecule that has a structure in the shape of a hexagonal ring. Two benzene rings can form a stable bi-molecule (a dimer). There are two different ways in which they can be positioned relative to one another: one flat on top of the other or one lying flat and the other upright on top. If the rings are part of a larger molecule their configuration influences the folding of the molecule or the binding between two such molecules, which in turn greatly affects the molecule’s biological activity.

Read more at: Phys.org



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