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Scientists at TU Dortmund University have achieved an important advance in organic chemistry: They have managed to isolate and characterize a new highly reactive organic compound at room temperature. Their findings were recently published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Chemistry.
In organic chemistry, scientists synthesize new organic molecules and characterize their chemical and physicochemical properties. The material properties and reaction behavior are essentially determined by functional groups, which can consist of different elements: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), sulfur (S), phosphorus (P), and halogens. One example is the hydroxyl group (-OH) of the alcohols. For most of the functional groups, synthesis and reactivity have already been thoroughly investigated. But there are also functional groups that are so reactive that the compounds cannot be isolated at room temperature. Previously, one such highly reactive molecule class was the class of diazoalkenes (R2C=C=N=N). Because of their high reactivity, they are very difficult to synthesize and typically are only “stable” at temperatures of a few Kelvin. Therefore they had been characterized in organic chemistry only at very low temperatures, until now.
By taking advantage of an unusual synthesis route and an electronic trick, the research group led by JProf. Max Hansmann at TU Dortmund University has now managed to isolate and characterize the first compound with such a functional group at room temperature. To do this, they activated laughing gas (N2O), a molecule that is normally very difficult to activate, and transferred the nitrogen it contains to a special compound, an ylidic polarized olefin. “It is amazing that such a functional group based on carbon and nitrogen, two elements so central to organic chemistry, had not been synthesized before,” says JProf. Hansmann. “The first-ever successful production of this molecule that is stable at room temperature opens up numerous interesting reactions, which bring with them in turn a wide range of possible applications.” In the future, for instance, the results of this project in fundamental science could potentially have an impact on the development of new drugs or materials.
JProf. Hansmann’s team collaborated with other partners on this project: To unambiguously verify the molecular structure of the diazoalkene using X-ray diffraction, Hansmann’s team was supported by Dr. Christopher Golz from the University of Göttingen and Dr. Julian Holstein of TU Dortmund University. In addition, Dr. Dimitrios Pantazis from the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim contributed by using quantum chemical methods to conduct a more detailed analysis of the electronic structure.
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The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.