Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crown Ethers

  • A crown ether is a molecule containing hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms. Each oxygen atom is bound between two of the carbon atoms and arranged in a ring (hence "crown").
  • Crown ethers are named as x-crown-y where x denotes the total number of atoms in the cyclic backbone and y denotes the number of oxygen atoms.
  • Because of their strong binding ability, crown ethers are often added to reactions with ionic reagents, in which the reacting part is the anion. The cation is bound by the crown ether, which ensures solubility, while the anion, in the organic solvent, is practically free of solvation and thus very reactive.
  • Crown ethers have been considered as a useful medium for isotope separation.

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