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Crafting a miniature pagoda.

Crafting a miniature pagoda

When the structural formula of a remarkable, newly synthesized molecule resembles the shape of an oriental temple, the molecule's informal name can be nothing other than "pagodane.' That was the name coined by a team of German chemists at the University of Freiburg who recently synthesized this "highly complex, esthetically appealing C20H20 polyquinane' (shown in diagram 1). Their report appears in the July 22 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY.


The synthesis of pagodane starts with the insecticide isodrin, a compound with 12 carbon atoms already arranged in four five-membered rings. This compound goes through about 45 structural and functional changes before the molecule appears in its final form. Despite the large number of steps needed, the overall process is surprisingly efficient with a yield of 24 percent.

Wolf-Dieter Fessner and his colleagues are interested in pagodane because of its close relationship with the molecular sphere dodecahedrane (shown in diagram 2). Changing only a few bonds converts one into the other. By constructing pagodanes with various molecular groups attached to certain corners, the researchers hope to develop a convenient, efficient path for assembling substituted derivatives of dodecahedranes. These highly symmetric molecules are likely to have interesting chemical properties.
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Title Annotation:pagodane - synthesized molecule resembles shape of oriental temple
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 15, 1987
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