Chemical record breaker

A dichromium coordination compound with the shortest new Cr-Cr distance seen in almost three decades has been synthesized by chemists at the University of Delaware. The new shortest distance record, a mere 1.803 A?ngstroms, set by Klaus Theopold and his colleagues beats Albert Cotton's 1978 record for a dichromium compound. Theopold and Kevin Kreisel had been researching the chemistry of chromium for several years, the metal is an important industrial catalyst for making plastics such as polyethylene, when they serendipitously hit on the new compound. They confirmed its structure and bond lengths using X-ray crystallography. "This molecule is probably not practically useful. We're not going to get a patent here or cure cancer," Theopold says, "Records define the range in which things can exist. It's just an interesting molecule from a fundamental scientific standpoint."