It is generally known that salts of the twelve-vertex
carbonane anion CB11H12 serve as starting materials for the preparation of
partially and fully substituted anions of type CB11XnH12. These latter
anions are used in catalysts, for materials used in lithium cation battery
electrolytes and in radioactive waste treatment materials. Until the
present time, the high cost of the starting material CB11H12, has discouraged
commercial use of these highly promising anions. Presently this starting
material is sold commercially by one company. Using an expensive
precursor, decarborane, the process used is expensive, difficult to scale up,
and performed in small batches.
University of Nevada, Reno and University of Colorado
researchers have developed a new process to economically produce weakly
coordinating, icosahedral carborane anion CB11H12-. Previously, the expense of
the CB11H12- anion prohibited it application. Now, the large-scale application
of this new family of ionic materials with unique properties, including
solubility in nonpolar solvents, inertness, and improved conductivity in
anhydrous applications, is possible.
The above mentioned properties suggest use in conductive
polymers, membranes, gels, and other ionic conductors frequently used in
batteries and fuel cells. Polymerization and other cationic catalysts used in
conjunction with CB11H12- anion or derivatives thereof exhibit enhanced
activity. The CB11H12- anion also exhibits tunable reduction/oxidation behavior,
useful in magnetic applications and organic synthesis.
Method for Preparation of Carborane Anions