Moebius hydrocarbon finally synthesized.

Okay, this is just cool.

Synthesis of a Möbius aromatic hydrocarbon

For your viewing pleasure, I traced the structure and made a .jpg so you can see for yourself.

I posted this on K5 without any further comment, but I’ve since looked up the paper, and there are a couple of interesting things to note.

The paper is well-written enough that parts of it could percolate through my brain. Although my reading is unsophisticated, in synthetic organic chemistry terms, a couple of things struck me.

First, they reported negative results along with their success. This may be usual in chemistry papers, but in biomedical papers, it’s rare for investigators to report things that didn’t work unless the context demands it. Second, the actual Moebuis component of the molecule is stabilized by these wonderful additional rings on one portion of the molecule. Third, crystals of the Moebius isomer are red, but those of the the non-Moebius version are colorless.

It was a thorny synthetic problem, accomplished with photochemistry and a deep understanding of the physics of the orbital structures. Hat’s off!

About Peg.

Peg has a PhD in neuroscience and has a mind like a cocker spaniel. New scientific questions are like squeaky toys. She makes her living consulting with university faculty members on the fine art of grantsmanship, writes fiction for fun, and considers herself a wetware hacker.


  1. My mind is boggled. I will get back to you when/if I can comprehend this. But in any event, it is definitely cool. Thanks.

  2. Red? That means they absorb blue. That’s neat as hell because classical pi orbitals absorb in the UV, which is a royal pain in portable spectrometry instruments.

  3. Love this tuff not as good as some on your site but always like to see what is going on.

    When will they ever get the new flat panel tv with the nano tube or carbon tubes they have been talking about.

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