Tricarbon or C3 is a small carbon cluster first spectroscopically observed in the beginning 20th century in the tail of a comet by William Huggins and subsequently identified in stellar atmospheres. Tricarbon can be found in interstellar space and can be produced in the laboratory by a process called laser ablation. Small carbon clusters like tricarbon and dicarbon are regarded as soot precursors and are implicated in the formation of certain industrial diamonds and in the formation of fullerenes. The ground state molecular geometry of tricarbon has been identified as linear via its characteristic symmetric and antisymmetric stretching and bending vibrational modes and bears bond lengths of 129 to 130 picometer corresponding to those of alkenes. The ionization potential is determined experimentally at 11 to 13.5 electron volt.[1] In contrast to the linear tricarbon molecule the C3+ cation is bent.

C3 has also been identified as a transient species in various combustion reactions.[citation needed]

The generation of C3 was investigated by Professor Emeritus Philip S. Skell of Pennsylvania State University in the 1960s.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Nicolas, Christophe; et al. (2006). "Vacuum Ultraviolet Photoionization of C3". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128 (1): 220–226. doi:10.1021/ja055430. PMID 16390150. 

Further reading

  • Gaydon, Alfred G.; Wolfhard, Hans G. (1979). Flames: their structure, radiation and temperature (4. ed., rev. ed.). London: Chapman and Hall. ISBN 0412153904. 
  • Hinkle, Kenneth W.; Keady, John J.; Bernath, Peter F. (1988). "Detection of C3 in the Circumstellar Shell of IRC+10216". Science 241 (4871): 1319–1322. doi:10.1126/science.241.4871.1319. PMID 17828935. 

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