The term superacid was originally coined by James Bryant Conant in 1927 to describe acids that were stronger than conventional mineral acids. George A. Olah was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his investigations of superacids and their use in the direct observation of carbocations. Olah's "magic acid", so-named for its ability to attack hydrocarbons, is prepared by mixing antimony pentafluoride (SbF5) and fluorosulfuric acid. The name was coined after one of Professor Olah's post-doctoral associates placed a candle in a sample of magic acid. The candle was dissolved, showing the ability of the acid to protonate hydrocarbons (which are not basic).
The strongest super acid system, the so-called fluoroantimonic acid, is a combination of hydrogen fluoride and SbF5. In this system, HF releases its proton (H+) concomitant with the binding of F− by the antimony pentafluoride. The resulting anion (SbF6−) is both a weak nucleophile and a weak base. The proton effectively becomes "naked", which accounts for the system's extreme acidity. Fluoroantimonic acid is 2×1019 times stronger than 100% sulfuric acid, and can produce solutions with a H0 down to –25.
US Patent Issued to GM Global Technology Operations on Jan. 4 for "Organic Superacids, Polymers Derived from Organic Superacids, and Methods of Making and Using the Same" (American, German, Canadian Inventors)
Jan 05, 2011; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 5 -- United States Patent no. 7,863,402, issued on Jan. 4, was assigned to GM Global Technology Operations...