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Research shows scientists discover rare cluster compound

June 19, 2022 06:59 Is

Kyoto [Japan], June 19 (ANI): Scientists from Kyoto University’s Institute for Cell-Material Sciences have discovered a new compound from the group that could prove to be a catalyst. Compounds known as polyoxometalates contain a large group of metal oxides that carry a negative charge. They are found everywhere from antiviral drugs to rechargeable batteries and flash memory devices.
The new cluster compound is a hydroxy-iodide (HSbOI) and is unusual in that it contains large, positively charged clusters. Only a few of such positively charged cluster compounds have been found and studied.
“In science, the discovery of a new material or molecule can create a new science,” says chemist Hiroshi Kageyama of Kyoto University. “I believe these new positively charged clusters have great potential.”
The first metal oxide cluster was discovered in 1826. Chemists have since synthesized hundreds of compounds with negatively charged groups, which have useful properties in magnetism, catalysis, ionic conduction, biological applications, and quantum information. Their properties make them useful in diverse fields from catalysis to medicine and chemical synthesis.
In recent years, scientists have focused their attention on synthesizing compounds with positively charged groups and learning their properties.

Kageyama and his colleague Ryu Abe found their positive cluster by accident. Since 2016, two scientists – Kazayama, a solid-state chemist and Abe, a catalytic chemist – have been in the quest to develop new compounds that can absorb visible light for photocatalysis. They were studying a chlorine-containing (Sb4O5Cl2) compound and trying to replace the chlorine atom with iodine.
“However, a new material that was completely different from what we expected was accidentally obtained,” Kageyama says.
Scientists expected a material that had 22 atoms in a unit cell. What they got in return was a compound that has 800 atoms in its unit cell.
Initially scientists could not ascertain the structure of the chemical. A traditional technique called powder X-ray diffraction failed when the complexity of the material was encountered. After a year, Kageyama thought he could use three-dimensional electron tomography, a state-of-the-art electron microscopy technique that has gained recent attention as a tool to image the structure of proteins. The scientists approached Artem Abakumov and Jok Heidermann at the University of Antwerp in Belgium to work on the structure. And when their colleagues sent the data back, the scientists were thrilled to see the larger clusters.
Further laboratory work showed that the hydroxyiodide molecule contains acidic protons, which is important in catalysis.
“This discovery may open up new possibilities in the design of solid-state catalysts,” Kageyama says. (ANI)

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