Carborane acids. New "strong yet gentle" acids for organic and inorganic chemistry.
- Author(s): Reed, Christopher A
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1039/b415425h
Icosahedral carborane anions such as CHB11Cl11- are amongst the least coordinating, most chemically inert anions known. They are also amongst the least basic, so their conjugate acids, H(carborane), are superacids (i.e. stronger than 100% H2SO4). Acidity scale measurements indicate that H(CHB11Cl11) is the strongest pure Brønsted acid presently known, surpassing triflic and fluorosulfuric acid. Nevertheless, it is also an extremely gentle acid--because its conjugate base engages in so little chemistry. Carborane acids separate protic acidity from anion nucleophilicity and destructive oxidative capacity in the conjugate base, to a degree not previously achieved. As a result, many long-sought, highly acidic, reactive cations such as protonated benzene (C6H7+), protonated C60(HC60+), tertiary carbocations (R3C+), vinyl cations (R2C=C(+)-R), silylium ions (R3Si+) and discrete hydronium ions (H3O+, H5O2+ etc.) can be readily isolated as carborane salts and characterized at room temperature by X-ray crystallography.