(Nanowerk News) To reveal the behavior and stability of the previously elusive metal complex compounds found in aqueous solutions called ‘POM’, researchers at the University of Vienna have created a speciation atlas which is now published in Science Advances (“Atlas of speciation of polyoxometalates in aqueous solutions”). This achievement has the potential to drive new discoveries and advances in fields such as catalysis, medicine and beyond.
Metal atoms can form tiny 3d structures with oxygen, intricate frameworks that look like wire mandalas and are called ‘polyoxometalates’, or ‘POM’ for short. These POMs are useful for controlling chemical reactions in chemistry, biology, or materials science, but are also relevant for understanding natural processes in these fields.
However, like the wire mandala, its structure is highly variable and dependent on subtle changes in its environment, making it extremely difficult for researchers to predict its structure and function for a wide range of applications, from medicine to environmental remediation.
Nadiia Gumerova and Annette Rompel of the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna have now developed a so-called ‘speciation atlas’, a cheat sheet that allows researchers to accurately ascertain the expected structure and behavior of ten POMs commonly used for any chemical. condition.
More specifically, this atlas is a database including predictive models that can be extended to other than ten selected POMs, which will yield POM species distribution, stability and catalytic activity taking into account factors of pH, temperature, incubation time, buffer solutions, reducing or chelating agents, and ionic strength.
To further support future research, Gumerova and Rompel have also developed a “roadmap” for other scientists conducting experiments with their own POMs: By selecting a stable variant of the POM, listing the parameters of the application system, and then carrying out what is called a ‘study’. POM speciation’ – experiments that reveal changes in the structure of NADFCs under changing conditions – researchers can ensure that they get the most accurate results and make the best use of POM in their work.
“The speciation atlas for POM represents a significant advance in our understanding of these complex metal compounds. Its insights have the potential to drive new discoveries and advances in catalysis, biology, medicine and beyond,” said Annette Rompel.