First of all, let me apologize for the lack of posting lately. I’ve been fairly busy with non-chemistry, real-lifey stuff, like having a social life, watching the Super Bowl, and even going out on dates! And I only have two chemistry classes–analytical chemistry lecture/lab, which I usually just want to forget the second I leave class, and organic synthesis, which I love but which is, for all intents and purposes, very hard and very annoying.
East of Eden, despite its length, is a great read. Even if you think you hate Steinbeck, which I thought I did after The Grapes of Wrath, give this book a chance. It gives some real insight into the California “frame of mind,” which took hold in Steinbeck’s time and remains to this day. The word of the day, just in case you were wondering, is “which.”
On the chemistry front, researchers from Shanxi University, Xinzhou Teachers’ University, Pacific Northwest National Lab and Washington State University have discovered a neat little boron cluster, B2(BO)2. The little guy features a linear geometry in the ground state, with two B-O triple bonds surrounding a central B=B unit. They produced it by laser-vaporizing boron in the presence of 0.01% oxygen gas seeded in helium. They were able to analyze the resulting mess of clusters using TOF-MS and actually mass-select B2(BO)2– for analysis by photoelectron spectroscopy. Interestingly, the PES’s suggested a triplet ground state for the neutral cluster.
Their computational analysis provides some rarely seen detail about how they actually went about probing for the true geometry of the cluster starting from the known geometry of B4. They pick out a couple of local minima before arriving at the globally minimum linear structure. The -1 and -2 charged clusters produced similar results: linear wins. And to add to the authors’ general feeling of badass-iness at this point, similarity in the calculated structures of the neutral and anionic clusters is consistent with the sharp 0-0 peak they observed on the PES…as is the calculated triplet ground state for the neutral cluster. Isn’t great when experiment fits theory like a glove? Or maybe it’s the other way around…?