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Students learn in high school that molecules must be in contact to react chemically. But what if that's not always true? It's that idea, which challenges textbook "laws," a team of theorists explored. They showed that even though it is in a completely different container from reactants, a catalyst could make a reaction happen. That is, a catalyst caused nitrous acid to change shape without touching it. The team's theory challenges conventional wisdom about what it takes to make a reaction happen.
High school textbooks state that molecules need to touch to react. In this theoretical study, scientists designed a quantum device that separates the catalyst from the starting chemicals. Using light, the scientists excited the catalyst to control the adjacent reaction. The setup could let chemists reconfigure chemical bonds that they can't access in other ways.
Chemical - Bonds - Re-arrange - Access - Wisdom
Some chemical bonds are tough to re-arrange because it's hard to access them. This aligns with the conventional wisdom that to make and break bonds, a...
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