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Magnetic coppers playing in the round.

A study of magnetic forces between copper atoms yielded this unusual -- dare one say, unique -- compound whose molecules arrange like chicken wire.

Miguel Julve of the University of Valencia in Burjasot, Spain, dissolved copper with oxalate and pyrimidine molecules in water, expecting them to link up with the copper. The molecules spaced the metal ions close enough for one copper's electrons to "feel" a magnetic influence of a nearby copper's electrons, but not so close that the electrons could jump between the metal atoms. Surprisingly, blue-green grains precipitated, Julve's team reported this week at an American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

Using X-ray diffraction, Julve's colleague Ekkehard Sinn of the University of Hull in Kingston-upon-Hull, England, found that these crystals consisted of infinitely long sheets of linked hexagonal rings. "There's no structure like that that we've heard of except graphite-like things," Sinn says. The copper atoms (black) lie at each corner of each hexagon. Oxalate molecules bridge copper in two directions. A double pyrimidine forms a third link and its orientation may help space parallel copper planes, Sinn explains. "I think this is a new magnetic material," he adds.
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Title Annotation:copper atoms linked in unusual pattern
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 29, 1992
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