Discovery of a missing link: Detection and structure of the elusive disilicon carbide cluster Academic Article uri icon


  • The rotational spectrum of the elusive but fundamentally important silicon carbide SiCSi has been detected using sensitive microwave techniques aided by high-level ab initio methods. Its equilibrium structure has been determined to very high precision using isotopic substitution and vibrational corrections calculated quantum-chemically: it is an isosceles triangle with a Si–C bond length of 1.693 (1) Å, and an apex angle of 114.87 (5)°. Now that all four Si m C n clusters with m+ n= 3 have been observed experimentally, their structure and chemical bonding can be rigorously compared. Because Si2C is so closely linked to other Si-bearing molecules that have been detected in the evolved carbon star IRC+ 10216, it is an extremely promising candidate for detection with radio telescopes.

publication date

  • May 22, 2015