protonated methane probed

I’m a dork, but as many of you know, I used to be a chemistry major. I’m still a member of the American Chemical Society and try to keep up some in the field. I don’t understand nearly as much of it as I would like.
In either case, I’m reading the issue of Chemical & Engineering News that arrived in the mail today. CH5+, also known as protonated methane or the methonium ion. It was orginally discovered in the 1950s and it is a gas formed during chemical reactions by adding a proton to a methane molecule (CH4). According to the article, it has been reported to be present in very acidic solution.
For those who think CH 301 would be worse than spending eternity in hell, spectroscopy is the study, and method of study, of molecular structure by looking at how a molecule absorbs, emits or refract light. You can run a spectroscopy on molecules and determine various things from it by the resulting spectrum.
The proceedure, usually, isn’t that hard and is used in many cases to help determine makes up a substance. Virtually all small molecules have been probed and researched using this methods who knows how many times over. Although discovered in the 1950’s, the CH5+ carbocation has been a bit tricky. An international group of researchers were able to obtaion the first broad-frequency infrared spectrum of the ion.
According to the article, much work is left since they haven’t been able to refine enough detail to figure out the ion’s rotationsl stucture.
Why should you care? Well, there really isn’t a reason. The ion has some concern to astrochemistry and organic chemistry but nothing a chemistry undergradute would care about, much less the normal person.
I just thought it was cool.






One response to “protonated methane probed

  1. Hung Doan Avatar

    Carbocations rule. No, seriously, they do. Without them, the fabric of our very existence would be called into question. Hey, check out my updated facebook profile, I added a paragraph about David Sedaris.

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