Discovery of a missing link: Detection and structure of the elusive disilicon carbide cluster

Michael C. Mccarthy, Joshua H. Baraban, P. Bryan Changala, John F. Stanton, Marie Aline Martin-Drumel, Sven Thorwirth, Carl A. Gottlieb, Neil J. Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


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 SimCn 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2107-2111
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 4 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical Bonding
  • Molecular Structure
  • Quantum-Chemical Calculations
  • Rotational Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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