An impossible molecule – Hexaferrocenylbenzene

What is it?

With the discovery of ferrocene in the 1950’s, chemists realised that this was only the starting point for many other materials with properties that would be of use to us. From this point they started to build other molecules from a combination of metal atoms and organic molecules.

One molecule that was sought for a long time was, hexaferrocenylbenzene – which would be made up of six ferrocene sandwiches attached to a benzene ring. The community was split as to weather such a molecule was possible, but were encourages by it’s potential properties as a ‘molecular gear’.

What does it look like?

In 2006 it was finally synthesised an its crystal structure worked out – here’s the unit cell. b604844g_1

Breaking that down a bit, here is an image of the hexaferrocenylbenzene itself within the structure.

b604844g_2Where did the structure come from?

Hexaferrocenylbenzene was synthesised by a group at the University of California, Berkley in 2006. They subsequently worked with a group of crystallographers to determine its structure which was published in Chemical Communications. You can get the crystallographic information file for this structure directly from the supplementary information of the original paper.

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