Article by Dr. Cina Foroutan-Nejad in Nature

24 March 2022

Aromaticity is a phenomenon that’s common among organic molecules, the molecules that are made of hydrogen and carbon as their main components. Historically, the name aromatic refers to the strong odor of organic molecules that can be found in different materials around us, from vanilla in our kitchens to xylene that’s a component in engine lubricants. In chemical terms aromatic however has a bit different meaning. Aromatic molecules are known to be extremely stable and play a major role in different aspects of our lives, from amino acids that make our bodies to a wide range of medications that help us fight against various diseases. Therefore, the assessment of the quantitative degree of aromaticity is an essential toolbox of modern chemistry. In the third millennium, the concept of aromaticity is extended to inorganic molecules which are mainly, even entirely, composed of metals. These species have found their role in the industry as catalysts. Despite the fact that the phenomenon of aromaticity is known for more than a century, assessment of the quantitative degree of aromaticity is still a topic of intensive academic debate. The most recent example of such debate is documented in a recent article in the journal Nature by dr. Cina Foroutan-Nejad from the Institute of Organic Chemistry Polish Academy of Sciences in collaboration with researchers from Central European Institute of Technology, CEITEC, Czechia,.

These researchers cast doubts on a popular theory of aromaticity assessment and report a state-of-the-art novel approach to assign aromatic character among the heaviest elements on Earth, such as thorium compounds. These materials are perfect candidates for nitrogen to ammonia conversion, an industrially valuable process that can replace a current Bosch-Haber process and start a sustainable revolution of fertilizer production.

Congratulations and we wish you continued success!