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Taming superacids: stabilization of the fullerene cations HC60+ and C60.+.


A new superacid, H(CB11H6X6) (where X = chlorine or bromine), whose conjugate base is the exceptionally inert CB11H6X6- carborane anion, separates Bronsted acidity from oxidizing capacity and anion nucleophilicity in a manner not previously achieved. Reaction of this superacid with C60 gives HC60+ as a stable ion in solution and in the solid state. In a separate experiment, an oxidant was developed such that the long-sought C60.+ ion can be synthesized in solution. The preparation of these two fullerene carbocations is a notable departure from the prevalent chemistry of C60, which is dominated by the formation of anions or the addition of nucleophiles. The H(CB11H6X6) superacid overcomes the major limitations of presently known superacids and has potentially wide application.

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