Münster University chemists create new types of Lewis acids

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Structure and crystalline state of the new type of Lewis superacid © Dielmann gr
Structure and crystalline state of the new type of Lewis superacid © Dielmann group
Researchers at the University of Münster have developed a method which makes it possible to create three-coordinate Lewis superacids on the basis of phosphorus. Previously, it had not been possible to isolate this type of compound, either in a liquid or in a solid state, due to its extreme electrophilicity and the associated reactivity.
In chemistry, Lewis acids are compounds which endeavour to accept electron pairs. Because of this so-called electrophilicity, they are often used to speed up chemical reactions. One example of this is the production of polyurethane synthetics used in the manufacture of foams for building insulation, car seats and household sponges.

“We use special substituents which regulate the electrophilicity of the phosphorus atom,” says Dr. ...
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