May 2008

Isothiocyanic acid

Isothiocyanic acid (HNCS) was observed in Sgr B2 by Frerking, Linke, and Thaddeus in 1979 via three lines of its rotational spectrum observed with the Crawford Hill 7 m telescope (the site is perhaps best known for its role in the 1965 discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation).

HNCS is a periodic analog of isocyanic acid, HNCO. The other two singly-substituted cases are HNSiO and HPCO, neither of which has been identified to date. The thiocyanate ion, SCN-, may form in ices the same way that cyanate ion, OCN-, can form, by a proton transfer to a base such as ammonia.

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