The focus of the research project is the creation, characterization, and application of molecules and materials consisting of charge-stabilized carbon chains. There has been lively disagreement for over a century as to whether the simplest carbon allotrope, carbyne, a linear chain of sp-hybridized carbon, occurs in the condensed state. Based on recent experimental and theoretical reports, we hypothesized that a new class of molecules and materials related to carbyne, called pseudocarbynes, exists. They consist of carbon chains stabilized by small metal clusters along and adjacent to the length of the chain. They are expected to have important chemical, optical, and magnetic properties that arise from synergistic interactions between the carbon chain and metal clusters. The project consists of integrated experimental and theoretical research to: 1) define the variety of pseudocarbynes that can be produced; 2) determine their formation mechanisms; and 3) characterize the synergistic metal-carbon interactions of pseudocarbynes and define their connections to chemical, electrical, optical, and physical properties. The last goal will include evaluating pseudocarbynes as reagents and catalysts for driving chemical reactions. The new class of carbon-rich molecules and materials represented by pseudocarbynes has the potential of opening an unexplored realm of chemistry, with all its interesting applications and implications.
Tarakeshwar, P.; Buseck, P. R.; Kroto, H. W. Pseudocarbynes: Charge-Stabilized Carbon Chains. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2016, 7, 1675–1681.