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The New Chemical Bond

A landmark discovery for the chemistry of the actinide elements and the science of chemical bonding in general
January 1, 2015
The New Chemical Bond

Meet the newest covalent bond, the phi bond (at right).

The research plan paid off when the first convincing experimental evidence of the phi bond showed up for the thorium sandwich complex, as revealed by its elaborate, never-before-seen symmetry.

The principles of chemical bonding lie at the heart of chemistry and have been known since the early 20th century. Therefore it’s not every day that a chemist discovers a new type of chemical bond—but that’s exactly what a team led by Los Alamos scientists Stosh Kozimor,
Rich Martin, and Enrique Batista, together with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) scientist David Shuh, has done. Prior to this work, covalent bonds (the kind where electrons are shared between atoms) were classified by just three types, which describe different bond symmetries; the prize discovery of this work is a fourth type.