LightChEC team discovers new autocatalytic burning mechanism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

BILD

Anaïs Mairena, Christian Wäckerlin and Karl-Heinz Ernst published together with collaborators from France and Germany a surprising result in The Journal of the American Chemical Society: On a saturated monolayer of atomic oxygen on a Cu surface, the mechanism of combustion of hydrocarbons depends crucially on their stereochemistry. Namely, sterically overcrowded polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), such as helicenes, decompose autocatalytically in a so-called surface explosion, while planar PAHs do not. This discovery shines new light onto autocatalytic surface chemistry and heterogeneous catalysis.

Link to publication: https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.8b04191