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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Sacrificial surfaces give up their iron

27 June 2006

Active solid-metal surfaces offer a new route to multi-nuclear mixed metal complexes, claim scientists in Finland.

Matti Haukka and colleagues at the University of Joensu used iron-containing metal surfaces, including an iron-chromium alloy and stainless steel, to make mixed metal ruthenium-iron compounds.  The researchers reduced ruthenium trichloride under a carbon monoxide atmosphere in the presence of an iron-containing surface. During the reaction the metal surface was oxidized, releasing iron into the solution and acting as a sacrificial source of iron, said Haukka.

                       Mixed metal complex

Guy Lavigne, a researcher in catalysis at Laboratoire de Chimie de Coordination, Toulouse, France praised the originality of the work. '[Haukka and colleagues] present a case where sacrificial oxidation of surface metal atoms is so efficient that it can be used as a stoichiometric synthetic procedure for the preparation of soluble metal complexes,' said Lavigne.

Haukka cautioned that much further work is needed to fully understand the process. 'The active participation of the metal surfaces in chemical reactions can be a source of various impurities if the reactions are carried out in the presence of metal surfaces such as surfaces of a reaction vessel,' said Haukka. 

Ian Gray


M Haukka, M Jakonen, T Nivajarvi and M Kallinen, Dalton Trans., 2006

DOI: 10.1039/b602834a