Olympicene Molecule resembles as Olympic Rings | WorldOfChemicals

Olympic rings inspires chemical molecule Olympicene

Olympicene Molecule

Fig.1) Olympic logo



Olympicene is an organic carbon based molecule formed of five rings, of which four are benzene rings, joined in the shape of the Olympic rings.

Collaboration between the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the University of Warwick and IBM Research - Zurich has allowed the scientists to bring a single molecule [Olympicene] to life in a picture using a combination of chemistry and state-of-the-art imaging techniques.

“When doodling in a planning meeting, it occurred to me that a molecular structure with three hexagonal rings above two others would make for an interesting synthetic challenge.”

- Professor Graham Richards, RSC Council member, CBE

The molecule was conceived in March 2010 as a way to celebrate the 2012 London Olympics by Graham Richards of University of Oxford and Antony Williams. It was first synthesized by researchers Anish Mistry and David Fox of the University of Warwick.

Olympicene has 18 pi electrons in its ring system; as it is a flat molecule, this makes it an aromatic molecule. The central ring is not an aromatic ring.

A group at IBM Research – Zurich in Switzerland analyzed the chemical structure of olympicene with unprecedented resolution using a complex technique known as noncontact atomic force microscopy. With the help of noncontact atomic force microscopy IBM scientists imaged a single olympicene molecule just 1.2 nanometers in width, about 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.

A first glimpse of the molecule’s structure was obtained by Dr Giovanni Costantini and Ben Moreton at Warwick using scanning tunneling microscopy.

Besides resembling the famous Olympic symbol, olympicene is expected to possess electronic and optical properties that may be used in light-emitting diodes, solar cells and other electronic applications.


[1] http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/news/intnews2/olympicene

[2] http://ibmresearchnews.blogspot.in/2012/05/olympicene-doodle-to-stunning-image-of.html


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