Science

BGSU photochemical researchers make breakthrough

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS A BGSU photochemical sciences research team has shown that a new and unusual reaction path in chemistry occurs not only in the gas phase, but also in solution. According to Dr. Alexander N. Tarnovsky, the finding, which is important to atmospheric photochemistry, also establishes the direct link between chemical reactivity in the gas phase and in solution. Tarnovsky and doctoral graduate assistants Andrey Mereschenko, Evgeniia V. Butaeva, Veniamin Borin and Anna Eyzips are the listed authors of a Nature Chemistry journal article about the finding. “Dissociation, the process of breaking a chemical bond, lies at the heart of chemistry,” Tarnovsky said. Dissociation of molecular bromine is one of the key steps in ozone depletion chemistry, so establishing the connection between bromoform and bromine is important in atmospheric photochemistry, he explained. About 10 years ago, chemists discovered a novel reaction mechanism in dissociation reactions of gas-phase molecules, called roaming. In roaming, a fragment, which can be an atom or a group, moves away from the rest of a molecule, as if the molecule were breaking into two pieces. But instead, the fragment separates just enough to give itself some space, and then starts wandering around in the vicinity of the remaining atoms. If long-range attractive and repulsive molecular forces are fairly balanced, the fragment roams other fragments until it finds a second attractive domain or opens enough space for the other group or atom to move in. The BGSU team showed that following ultraviolet…